counter Skip to content

Smartphone, tablet and PC market: the impacts of Coronavirus

Smartphone, tablet and PC market: the impacts of Coronavirus

There is no doubt: the Coronavirus COVID-19 is having a significant impact not only on people's health – and this is certainly the most important aspect – but also on the productive activities. In Italy there is even talk of a recession, while the world tech market is inevitably suffering the blow. Everything started from China, the cradle of modern technology, and worsening the situation was then the spread of the epidemic that has now overwhelmingly arrived in the West.

IDC tries to transform what is happening into data, focusing in particular on two distinct – but not too much – sectors: that of smartphone and that of the PC and tablet. For both the incipit is the same: the COVID-19 will leave its mark. It had already been said about desktops and laptops, which according to Canalys will suffer a drop in shipments of considerable importance starting from this quarter. And the risk is that the ongoing emergency will jeopardize the expected spread of 5G smartphones, which at the end of 2020 should be 200 million against the 20 of the past year.


  • expeditions -2.3% in 2020 (1.34 billion units versus 1.40 billion expected pre-virus – growth of + 1.5% was estimated then)
  • expeditions -10.6% in the first half of the year, -14.5% only in Q1. A rebound towards growth is expected in Q4: + 8%
  • shipments back in growth in 2021 thanks to smartphones compatible with new generation networks. Expected + 6.3% on an annual basis, but not sufficient to reach the previously estimated volumes (from 1.44 to 1.42 billion units shipped)
  • in China there will be a "gradual return to normal": first the drop, then the recovery supported by government incentives and subsidies
  • Coronavirus will "dampen" growth in the first half of the year due to reduced supplies and logistics problems
  • by the third quarter the situation should stabilize
  • Chinese market: -40% in Q1 2020 compared to last year, and most of the sales will take place online. This could contribute to a permanent change in consumer buying habits


The speech changes little for the desktop, notebook, workstation and tablet market, and not only Coronavirus, but also the end of the effect of the transition from Windows 7 (no longer supported, as already mentioned in our guide) to affect Windows 10.

  • expeditions -9% in 2020 (374.2 million units)
  • expeditions -8.2% in Q1 2020, -12.7% in Q2, due to the lack of components
  • long term (2024) a growth with CAGR of 0.2% (377.2 million units)
  • since 2021: slight growth driven by new generation products with different form factors
  • compared to the smartphone market, on which the impact of Coronavirus will be more evident, that of PC and tablet will, yes, have an overall negative trend (values ​​at the end of 2020), but all in all in line with what was previously expected
  • PC:
    • 248 million shipped in 2020 according to the new forecasts, against the previously assumed 252.4 million. This equates to -7.1% in 2020 (previously estimated -4.6%)
    • 251.2 million shipped in 2021, more than estimated pre-virus: growth of just over one percentage point is expected
    • Q2 will see a 10.3% drop, but the minus sign will prevail throughout the year
  • Tablet:

Credits opening image: Pixabay