The NPD market research group reported record U.S. sales of computers and productivity peripherals in the first three weeks of March, as most of the country's workforce adapts to the new work-from-home (opens in new tab) status quo, starting at a 31% uptick for mice and ranging all the way up to a 179% increase for webcams, as reported by Yahoo Finance (opens in new tab) Sunday.
“Whether working or learning from home, productivity hardware is required, and with many Americans settling into this new reality, we saw historic sales increase over the first two weeks of March,” NPD group vice president of technology and mobile Stephen Baker said in a March 30 blog post (opens in new tab).
This mirrors a statement IDC vice president of market research group Linn Huang made to Yahoo Finance, characterizing the new demand as a “‘stuck-at-home’ bubble."
“There are a lot of casual sort of tech users nowadays who are comfortable carrying most of their computer needs in their pocket with their phone. And now that they’re stuck at home, they are realizing how important the other stuff is," Huang told Yahoo Finance.
Describing products becoming personal needs that are typically supplied by an office, NPD’s numbers show a 29% increase in router sales, a 31% increase in mouse (opens in new tab)sales, a 40% increase in both laptops (opens in new tab)and desktops (opens in new tab), a 64% increase in keyboards (opens in new tab), a 118% increase in docking stations, a 134% increase in PC headsets, (opens in new tab) a 138% increase in PC monitors (opens in new tab) and a massive 179% increase in webcams (naturally, it's become hard to find one -- for help, here are the best webcams you can still buy (opens in new tab)) compared to the same time period in 2019.
All of this reflects statements from Nvidia two weeks ago about increasing demand (opens in new tab)in its mobile, workstation, virtual machine and cloud sectors.
March's pandemic-fueled PC sales increase also marks the first instance of PC sales numbers going up, aside from a mild 2.7% bump in 2019, in eight years (opens in new tab).
However, IDC’s Huang isn’t confident about the industry’s near future beyond that. The exec told Yahoo Finance that most of the current tech stock is leftover from a winter season overstocking influenced by the U.S./China trade war. Huang said Q2 might feature a dwindling supply in comparison, as China recovers from factory closures caused by Lunar New Year and the coronavirus (opens in new tab).
“By the time we go into Q3, we could be months into a global recession, and so we’re concerned about how consumer confidence will track then," Huang said.
Tom’s Hardware has largely reported on recovering supply chains within the past few weeks, though coronavirus-related shipping roadblocks (opens in new tab) could still reduce consumer availability for tech in the next quarter.