Consumer electronics sales are usually a bellwether of consumer confidence and the broader economy.
But this year, all bets are off.
Although worldwide mobile phone shipments have been declining for several years largely due to market penetration and higher prices, the drop in 2020 is expected to be far more extreme, down to 1.57 billion from 1.81 billion last year, according to CCS Insight. That’s less than in 2011.
“If you’re a device maker, you’re playing a very dynamic game of chess right now,” said Eric Schmitt, a research director and analyst at Gartner.
These challenges – magnified by COVID-19’s effect on supply chain stability and because consumer tech purchases are often discretionary – complicate the process of devising a marketing plan in these uncertain times (cue piano music).