Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the electronics market witnessed a modest growth rate globally. After the pandemic, the global electronics industry is facing a dual impact. On one hand, the production facilities of the electronics parts have been paused due to the logistics slowdown and unavailability of the workforce globally. On the other hand, major e-commerce companies across the world have discontinued the delivery of non-essential items (including most of the electronics products), which is adversely affecting the electronics industry.
Regionally, China has been hit the hardest by the outbreak of the virus being the epicenter of the COVID-19. Along with China, several major economies including the US, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and India are also affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and so is their electronic industry. A research supported by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai) found that two-thirds of US businesses operating in China expect demand to be lower due to lack of sufficient staff at the time of the pandemic. With restrictive regulations, the shutdown of retail shops and showrooms of major brands, supermarkets, and hypermarkets for a definite period of time is further anticipated to affect the sales of various electronics products.
Moreover, COVID-19 has also disrupted the global supply chain of major electronic brands. China is the largest producer and exporter of various electronics input supplies that are essentially used to produce finished electronic goods. The ongoing production halt in China has forced the other electronic manufacturers based in the US and Europe to hold the production of the finished goods on a temporary basis. This is in turn leading to the gap in the demand and supply of the electronic products. Some of the major companies in the electronics market to get affected due to COVID-19 include Apple Inc., Canon Inc., GoPro Inc., Hitachi Ltd., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., Nikon Corp., Panasonic Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Toshiba Corp., and several others.
Some of the key market players have taken the necessary steps to reduce the adverse impact of this crisis. For instance, Apple Inc. delayed the launch of the iPhone 9 due to this pandemic outbreak in China. Both Hyundai and Nissan have announced production suspension in the South Korean plant owing to the delay of the electronics parts.
With the outbreak of the global pandemic- Coronavirus- and the supply and demand of semiconductors worldwide declining, a research report has predicted the growth of the semiconductor industry by 0.9 per cent in 2020, revising its earlier growth forecast of 12.5 per cent. Due to the wide spread of COVID-19 across the globe and the resulting restrictive actions by governments to contain the spread a far more severe impact on demand than initially predicted is to be witnessed. According to the report, this year’s forecast could have been worse, but growth in memory could prevent a steep decline. Moreover, the global semiconductor revenue has been reduced in 2020 from the previous quarter’s forecast by USD 55 billion, to USD 415.4 billion.
Global semiconductor memory revenue has been projected to account for 30 per cent of the total worldwide semiconductor market in 2020. This market is forecasted to reach USD 124.7 billion in 2020, which is an increase of 13.9 per cent. On the other hand, the non-memory revenue market is likely to account for a total USD 290.6 billion, a decline of 6.1 per cent year-on-year.
Within memory, NAND flash revenue has been anticipated to expand by 40 per cent in 2020 due to severe shortages persisting from 2019, which keeps pricing firm. Initial price increases of 15.7 per cent during the first half of 2020 will witness a reverse to a 9.4 per cent decline during the second half of the year. However, average pricing levels will still enable NAND flash revenue to achieve growth this year. Whereas, strong demand from cloud service providers in the first half of 2020 will boost pricing and revenue higher in server DRAM. However, this growth is likely to be offset by weak demand and falling prices from the smartphone market.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), growth in global IT spending is likely to reduce by 3-4 per cent by the end of 2020, owing to the pessimistic business ambience due to the outbreak of the pandemic. The impact could be even more profound as the spread seems to engulf many countries beyond China. Although the major impact of the pandemic is expected to be on hardware business, the software and services businesses would also be equally expected to slow down as the spread of Coronavirus goes beyond the boundaries of Asia. However, adoption of collaborative applications, security solutions, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are set to witness an increase in the coming days. It has also given an opportunity for IT vendors to test some concepts of “Future of Work” and some of them might become mainstream as the dust settles. It also provides an opportunity to IT vendors to step-up as consulting partners to handhold their clients in assisting them to sail through the crisis.