In the wake of COVID-19, notebooks, desktops, and tablets have taken a front-and-center position as the critical interface for remote learning. Without these core devices – in addition to broadband connectivity for all students – remote learning would be a non-starter. While technology has always played a key role in K-12 Education, a global pandemic and the resulting social distancing requirements expedited the importance of these devices and services almost immediately.
According to NPD’s B2B Reseller Tracking Service, this January to May K-12 educators began accelerated efforts to purchase both notebooks and tablets earlier and in larger quantities than in years past to help prepare for a potential Fall COVID-19 resurgence. With infection rates fairly modest at the time, the education vertical was preparing for the worst-case-scenario of operating 100% remote should the virus surge in the Fall. Unfortunately, this summer as states began to re-open, the virus flared, stunting many economies as they were just beginning to recover. Compounding an already tight K-12 budget, shortfalls of state and local tax revenues due to COVID-19 would make the budget unattainable, as it has been reported that state and local resources support 92% of the total education spend.
Through the CARES Act the federal government provided a timely lifeline of $13.2 billion to K-12 education. States that were able took advantage of the funding to accelerate their purchase and deployment of notebooks and tablets to help close the 1:1 device gap. Data from the NPD’s B2B Reseller Tracking Service shows that K-12 educators purchased nearly 600,000 additional notebooks from January through June compared to the same timeframe last year. Specifically, K-12 increased overall spending on notebooks by 56%, while spending on desktops fell by nearly 30%.