What you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a transformative event for consumers and technology. The importance of technology products and services became elevated to new levels. Remaining connected was a top priority for 44% of consumers who felt home internet was more important because of COVID-19. The impact of the pandemic on daily life also drove changes in consumers’ digital behaviors and accelerated adoption of things like video chatting, gaming, streaming and ecommerce and spurred consumers to purchase new tech products for a more virtual lifestyle.

One of the biggest impacts of COVID-19 on consumers’ technology behaviors – one year after the pandemic – has been the widespread shift to remote work for millions of employees, and how that shift is impacting consumer electronics and online services. Remote working is expected to remain a feature of employment arrangements and should drive further spending and participation in various areas of consumer tech and electronics. Mintel has observed levels of remote work nearly double since the pandemic, and the “new normal” of a digitally connected workforce will lead more consumers to seek innovations and tech solutions for the home and the home office.

This Report looks at the following areas

  • General impacts of COVID-19 across lifestyles, the economy and household spending

  • Technology hardware and communications segment performance and forecasts

  • How COVID-19 accelerated the adoptions of new technologies and increased consumer reliance on technology

  • Opportunities for tech brands to reach digital consumers based on their wants and needs, as well as attitudes toward technology


For the purposes of this Report, the market size for technology includes:

Technology hardware: televisions and other video/audio equipment; information processing equipment (eg computers/peripherals, software/accessories, other information processing equipment)

Communication services: land line and cell phone equipment and services, internet access

Readers of this Report may also be interested in Digital Trends – Fall: Incl Impact of COVID-19 – US, October 2020, The Impact of COVID-19 on Technology – US, June 2020 and Digital Trends – Spring: Incl Impact of COVID-19 – US, April 2020.

Market context

Economic and other assumptions

Mintel bases its expectations for economic growth on projections provided by the CBO, the FOMC, the Conference Board and other public sources. Consensus estimates forecast US GDP to increase by 6.5% in 2021. Unemployment has been forecast to decline to as low as 4.1% by the end of 2021 with an average of 5.7% for the year.

COVID-19: US context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. It was declared a global health pandemic and national emergency in early March 2020. Across the US, various stay-at-home orders were put in place in Spring 2020, and nonessential businesses and school districts closed or shifted to remote operations. The remainder of 2020 saw rolling orders, as states and local governments relaxed and reinforced guidelines according to the spread of the virus in each region.

Vaccine distribution began in December 2020, and it is expected take anywhere from July to December 2021 for 70-90% of the population to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Mintel anticipates business operations in the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021 as the vaccine is widely administered.

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