Rapid Shift to Distance Learning Drives Surge in Demand for Mobile Computing Solutions in Higher Ed

computer grad cap distance learning

By Claire Kerrison
Futuresource Consulting

The outbreak of COVID-19 forced higher education campuses across the world to adopt distance learning overnight.

“The education technology industry has been one of the few to witness growth as a direct result of COVID-19,” said Claire Kerrison, senior market analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “This is reflected in the Futuresource Higher Education market dataset, which states that global demand for mobile PCs from Higher Ed institutions grew 15% ‘YoY’ in 2020 as campuses closed in favour of distance learning amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Conversely, demand for desktop solutions from Higher Ed fell 16% ‘YoY’ with a third of desktop purchases in 2020 being used for research purposes”.

This latest Futuresource Consulting Higher Education data drills down into device purchase trends revealing that 25% of universities, across the 20 countries covered, had made unplanned PC device purchases in 2020 due to COVID-19. Approximately 40% of computing devices purchased in 2020 were for staff, with a further 10% was allocated for Esports demonstrating a decrease ‘YoY’ due to the shift to distance learning.

“In terms of device type, Chromebooks are gaining traction” highlighted Kerrison, “particularly among teaching staff and students, as specifications become more advanced. For example, in the US Chromebooks now attribute to nearly 20% of mobile PC device sales to Higher Ed”.

Furthermore, Futuresource forecasts that shipments of Mobile PC devices are expected to continue to grow 5.1% CAGR from 2020-2025. Growth will be driven by a continued shift from desktop solutions (particularly in emerging markets), as well as a rise in the number of students and staff attending higher ed institutions worldwide.

According to Futuresource, COVID-19 has shifted the IT purchasing priorities of higher ed institutions across the world. The top three are now: collaboration technology; cloud storage and presentation technologies.

“Going forward Universities are now preparing for hybrid learning and are integrating PTZ cameras into seminar rooms, as well as upgrading the existing installed base in main auditoriums. Remote learning was growing in popularity pre-Covid in higher institutions” added Kerrison. “This was a key driver of growth in the professional audio space – as was a broader focus on improving facilities due to heightened competition among institutions. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 caused a rapid acceleration in adoption”.

For more information on the Futuresource Higher Ed Total Available Market Report please visit here.