Pre-2020, “gadgets” were essentially over. Smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches took the place of cameras, music players, navigation systems, fitness trackers, gaming devices, etc. But now, this “spontaneous mass hobbyism” is really bringing gadgets back.
It appears (for now) this “gadget apocalypse” has been averted. Months of lockdown and new normals have changed consumers back into gadget freaks: pulse oximeters, the iPhone 12, air filters, infrared thermometers, tablets, laptops, the PlayStation 5, ring lights, miniature freezers, home networking equipment, and noise-canceling headphones. We can all agree that the breakout device of the summer was the (three-year-old) Nintendo Switch.
The ways in which people buy gadgets have also become more practical. The way we search for items is also changing – from searching “The Best Laptops” to “How to Shop for a Used Laptop or Desktop PC.” Companies like Amazon who may have had “rip off” gadgets are now popular and preferred. Another example, Anker, which made its name selling portable batteries on Amazon, now sell projectors, so that you can open a small movie theater in your home since the movie theaters are shut down.
The pandemic gadget boom is a story of new needs — for example, the number of backorders and top listings on Amazon of S.A.D. lamp and outdoor radiators.
What’s interesting is that these pandemic gadgets don’t claim to be the next big thing. Companies know these products are obsolete but this isn’t something they necessarily want to hide, because when we don’t need them, it won’t be a disappointment but more of a relief. Food for thought: where does conscious consumerism come in? Will these products be thrown out post-pandemic?