COVID-19 reverses declining use of end-user devices across the UK public sector as number of notebooks grows 110%, says GlobalData

National lockdowns and the growth of hybrid working resulting from COVID-19 have reversed a decline in the number of end-user devices in use across the UK public sector, as the number of notebook devices have more than doubled, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest figures illustrate that the total number of desktops, notebooks and tablets in the UK public sector all declined between FY2018-19 and FY2019-20, by 21%, 15% and 42%, respectively. However, with the introduction of COVID-19 measures in March 2020, the number of notebook devices jumped by 110% during FY2020-21, from 1.5 million to 3.2 million.

Robert Stoneman, Service Director at GlobalData, comments: “This increase was driven by two factors: a significant growth in the size of the public sector workforce to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the almost overnight shift to working from home.”

Annual growth in the number of UK public sector employees doubled from 2% to 4% between FY2019-20 and FY2020-21, rising from 5.46 million to 5.68 million. At the same time, the balance between desktop PCs and portable notebooks in use has shifted firmly from the former to the latter, with notebooks becoming the dominant device from FY2020-21 to date.

Stoneman continues: “With the end of ‘stay at home’ orders in March 2021, many employees in the UK generally returned to the office, but the pandemic has had a permanent effect on working patterns, with many continuing to work from home part-time or full-time. As a result, in FY2021-22, the number of notebook devices in use is set to increase further, to a high of 4.6 million.

“Yet, what is also interesting is that, despite some public sector workers continuing to work flexibly, FY2021-22 also saw the number of desktop PCs significantly increase from 2.8 million to 4.3 million. This suggests that now many public sector workers have returned to the office, even if on a hybrid basis, public sector organisations are looking to invest in replacing their ageing desktop estate.”

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