Brian Heater

New numbers from Gartner show a sizable — if not unexpected — decline in device shipments for 2020. According to the analyst firm, the category (including phones, tablets and PCs) is currently on track to decline 13.6% for the year.

COVID-19 is, naturally, largely to blame here. The virus has permeated virtually every sector of society, and hardware is certainly not immune. Phones are projected to take the biggest hit, down 14.6% from 2019. That list includes both dumb and smartphones, the latter of which now comprises most handset purchases. Smartphones as a category are down 13.7% year over year.

The smartphone market has been on a slide for recent years. But 2020 was going to be the year smartphone makers turned things around (for a little while, at least), thanks to the arrival of 5G. Like so many other things in this world, however, COVID-19 has put a damper on those figures, with the technology only expected to represent 11% of phone shipments for the year.

Interestingly, PC shipments weren’t impacted as strongly as might have been expect. The decline is still sizable at 10.5%, but a push to implement work from home models for many employees has helped lessen the slide. In particular, laptops, Chromebooks and tablets appear to be the least impacted of the bunch.



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