While 2021 brought a welcome recovery to most sector verticals across the broader economy, the collective state is fragile with pandemic conditions remaining fluid. Critical to continued momentum in 2022 will be the need for improved predictability and stability in both the U.S. and China, allowing supply chain and factory production to further normalize. If pandemic conditions in China were to worsen, key ports and factories could be subject to zero tolerance COVID protocols negatively impacting the speed and strength of the broader recovery.
According to NPD’s new Future of B2B Technology forecast, increased IT investment is expected in the new year with the majority of growth driven by midsize and enterprise organizations. The primary focus will be to expand on initial digital transformation efforts begun in 2019 along with ongoing support for remote workforces. Small business spend will be more moderate, prioritizing critical hardware and software until business conditions further stabilize.
2022 will bring a level of volume normalization to several categories that were significant drivers in 2020 and 2021 including Chromebooks, notebooks, and most work-from-home categories. As vaccination and on-premise learning efforts continue to expand within education, 2022 will bring a pause in Chromebook growth as administrators look to better understand usage, utilization, and general status of millions of deployed devices. Software and cloud infrastructure categories will continue to accelerate in 2022 as midsize and large companies continue with DX efforts begun during the pandemic with a keen focus on remote workforce security, continuity, and productivity.
NPD is forecasting a return to growth in 2023 as pandemic conditions and supply chain capacity are both expected to improve. Education is expected to return to modest growth with administrators having a better understanding of the role technology will play into new hybrid learning models. Software and cloud categories are expected to continue the current growth trajectory based on DX initiative maturity and expansion. Work-from-home is also expected to see growth as tech refresh will include upgraded devices that enhance productivity through improvements in technology, rather than a simple device replacement.