At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when people were sent home to work and schools were closed, and kids had to learn from home, demand for PC’s and Laptops rose significantly.
In the case of business demand for laptops, many CIOs sent staff home with PCs that were four-to-five years old that had poor cameras and mediocre sound systems. We saw an immediate demand for new laptops being purchased by IT directors as more and more were sent home to work. Even today, although demand has leveled off, these IT managers have signaled that they will be more aggressive in updating older systems in the future.
When schools closed, kids were forced to learn from home and use either school given Chromebooks or traditional laptops if someone in the home had one. In many cases, it was the laptop of a parent who was also using it for work. The demand for laptops in the home has also leveled out, but we do see more interest in consumer laptops at this time than we did later year in the same time frame.
While all the big PC vendors were happy with the stronger demand for PCs and Laptops in what is normally a slow quarter, they were savvy enough to know that given the uncertainty of the economy going into the end of this year and into 2021, they may need to help their IT customers with ways to keep upgrading at almost no cost in the short term.
All of the major PC makers who serve IT buyers are now offering varying degrees of a buy, now pay later, and device as a service programs. Also, many new leasing programs are being made available to the enterprise to entice them to upgrade sooner than later. These types of financing programs have been in PC Vendors arsenal for years, but our current situation has forced them to highlight them and make their customers more aware of this option.
The PC vendors see that stats. Many surveys of corporate IT directors say that they are open to having 30% to 70% of their staff, depending on sector, work from home. They also know that hundreds of millions of PCs and laptops in use are over four years old or even older.
This is one of those moments in the PC history that vendors know that they have to seize the moment and use it to help companies convert from older machines to new ones that can meet the demands of a new normal where. Mobility and portable computing has gone beyond sales and service forces and now include mainstream working staff too.
In a way, 2020 may be the watershed that Microsoft, Intel, and all of the PC vendors have wanted for over a decade. IT directors have continued to buy new PCs and laptops, mostly driven by current needs tied to new hires and, on some occasions, replacing older laptops that were too expensive to repair.
But with more and more of their staff working from home, and a majority of them using laptops that are older than four years, IT may be forced to move to newer machines much faster than in the past.
It is still very unclear if our economy will rebound in a V-Curve or struggle for some time, as it seems clear now that we have entered into a recession that has no quick fix. Yet companies with staff who are now forced to work from home need their systems to be more up-to-date.
If ever there was a time to highlight -Buy Now, Pay Later and new leasing programs to keep IT purchases of PCs and laptops moving in a down economy, this would be the time.