Monitor, keyboard and mouse sales jump as coronavirus forces remote working

As a long period of home working looms, companies and workers look to upgrade their kit.

Sales of monitors, keyboards and mice have jumped as workers scramble to fit out their home offices for remote working in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

British consumers doubled the number of IT monitors bought during the week ending 14 March compared to the week before, according to market research company GfK. It found that in comparison to the same period last year, sales increased by 133.9% by volume and 132.3% by value. PC sellers have also reported increased sales of PCs as companies try to equip as many staff as possible to work from home.

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Image: GfK

As well as monitors, purchases of keyboards jumped during that same week, giving a year-on-year growth of 68.8% by value. Spending on pointing devices -- mouse, track ball, stylus pen, for example -- were also up significantly on the same period last year. According to the market researchers, the related category of communication devices also saw a jump in spending, with increased purchases of routers, repeaters, port replicators and docking stations.

SEE: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Although a minority of staff may be used to working from home, for most the current crisis will be the first time they have had to work remotely for such a long period. That means perching on the sofa with a laptop has to be replaced with something more robust. And it's not just hardware; usage of VPNs is increasing significantly as staff look to log on securely from home.

Kelly Whitwick, UK retail lead for market insights at GfK, said IT manufacturers and retailers are witnessing a sales uplift as home-bound workers rush to invest in IT equipment to help them work comfortably from home. Tech was not the only area of higher spending, as people try to purchase equipment to make social distancing or self-isolation a little easier, Whitwick said: sales of freezers, fridges and hair clippers were all seeing significant year-on-year growth.