NPD Group said computer monitor sales nearly doubled in the first half of March, while notebook computers increased by 10%.
Work-from-home (WFH) and shelter in place policies required with the spread of COVID-19 made the difference, the analyst firm said. “Work is not restricted to paid employment, as many folks are involved in distance learning or trying to juggle a home with both adults working from home and managing their children’s need to continue to be educated,” wrote Stephen Baker, vice president of technology and mobile analysis in a blog.
“The shift to working from home has also breathed new life into categories that were in decline, such as web cameras,” he said. In the U.S., consumers bought a second monitor or a big screen, with a total of 80,000 units sold.
Baker noted that B2B notebook sales also saw more than a 50% increase in the first two weeks of March.
Mobile phones and accessories are seeing declines with the decline in mobility. Cell phone accessories like cases, protectors and power and cables fell 14% in the first two weeks of March, NPD noted.
Financial analysts have said remote work will benefit companies like Dell and HP that make laptops, but also Intel and Microsoft. Microsoft shares rallied to $160.23 on Monday and remained mostly flat on Tuesday. Intel stock rallied to $55.49 on Monday but declined by more than 3% late Tuesday.
Even though chipmakers might see some bright spots with WFH, their stocks have seesawed in recent weeks amid fears of economy-wide layoffs and the impact of an emerging recession. On Monday, UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri sent a note to investors that companies like Intel and AMD are likely to hold off making big layoffs because they might miss out on sales when the economy eventually improves.
Plus, laying off workers and then rehiring them later is costly, more so that keeping workers for several quarters, he said.