Here’s How The Work-From-Home Tech Market Fared In Q2

Employees weren’t spending much on mice or keyboards in Q2 2020, but USB cameras and PC headsets became hot commodities during the second quarter as work from home mandates went into effect, according to the NPD Group.

WFH Life

As many companies began issuing work-from-home mandates in March to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and employees found themselves without the tools and equipment they would need to power their remote work environments, such as external monitors, docking stations, PC headsets, keyboards, USB cameras, and mice.

Recent data from the NPD Group, which tracks monthly sales data from the largest distributors and resellers in North America, found that work-from-home tech tool sales initially spiked in March. While some revenue for certain equipment declined overall during the three months from April 2020 to June 2020, such as monitors and docking stations, other segments continued to climb, with hardware such as USB cameras, seeing an impressive triple-digit revenue growth during the second quarter of 2020.

Overall, NPD reported that revenue for work-from-home products increased slightly by 2.2 percent during what may have been the most uncertain fiscal quarter in years for many businesses and their employees. NPD believes that as many schools announce remote learning plans for the fall and employees work from home for an extended period of time -- or even on a more permanent basis, many work from home tech product revenues will grow.

Here are the revenues of six work-from-home products that the NPD Group tracked during Q2 2020.

Sourcing: The NPD Group tracks monthly technology sales-out information from the largest IT distributors and resellers across North America, down to the item level and with overlap removed.

6. Mice

Mice have a shorter product lifecycle and are typically purchased at a steady rate, which is why there wasn‘t a sales spike as employees began working from home, according to Mike Crosby, Director and B2B Technology Industry Analyst for The NPD Group.

Mice saw revenue decreases of 21 percent in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019. The average price increase on these items may have attributed to the lack of interest as workers desired a cheaper replacement product, Crosby said.

5. Keyboards

Like mice, keyboards are also purchased at a steady rate and didn‘t see a noticeable uptick when work from home orders began to take hold. However, revenues for keyboards didn’t fall as much as mice revenues. Keyboards saw a revenue decrease of 9.3 percent in the second quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The average price increase on these items may have attributed to the lack of interest as workers desired a cheaper replacement product, Crosby said.

4. Monitors

March 2020 saw monitor volumes jump up 39 percent compared to the same month a year ago as work from home mandates went into effect. Overall, however, monitor revenue declined 5.5 percent during the second quarter as the previous sales and space constraints due to lack of permanent work spaces in the home slowed sales, Crosby said.

NPD expects monitor revenues to rebound moving forward.

3. Docking stations

Docking station volumes were up 51 percent In March 2020. However, that increase only translated to 1.6 percent revenue growth during Q2 2020.

Some businesses will make the shift to working from home more permanent and will need tools to equip their workforces with the necessary technology solutions. Additionally, many schools announced online-only classes in the Fall and the need for more employees to work from home on an extended basis to be with their children will drive the sales of more work from home products, such as docking station sales, NPD said.

2. PC headsets

As employees work from home -- in many cases alongside another employee or employees per household all also working from home -- as well as students learning remotely, PC headsets were the first product that many employees purchased to transition to their new work environments, Crosby said. As such, PC headsets experienced strong revenue growth of 44.1 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020.

1. USB cameras

Businesses are relying heavily on video conferencing and collaboration tools to support their remote workforces and help employees stay connected to each other, as well as outside clients. As such, the need for higher resolution cameras continues to grow. It‘s often easier and more economical to purchase a new USB camera rather than a new laptop, Crosby said. As a result, USB camera revenue grew a whopping 256.7 percent in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019.