Both COVID-19 first and second waves hit the smartphone industry quite hard, coupled with the global chip shortage crisis and supply constraints. Manufacturers, especially the ones who depend a lot on cross-border supplies, were majorly impacted. Industry experts predict that the same could happen this time if prior actions are not taken to combat the spread of Omicron, the new COVID variant. Also Read - Pandemic game has been removed from PC, Android and iOS: Here's a look why
Some experts believe that it is too early to talk about what impact Omicron will have in the smartphone industry, others suggest that phone manufacturers should take a few early initiatives. Taking cues from the first and second wave, phone manufacturers should be proactive and bring COVID-related protocols early in their factories. Also Read - COVID-19: ICMR approved rapid antigen self home testing kits you can buy right now
Prabhu Ram, Head of Industry Intelligence Group at CMR tells BGR.in that “the spectre of Omicron COVID variant does loom large, and it does potentially bring uncertainty to future smartphone industry outlook, it is a time to wait and watch.” Also Read - Omicron threat: Demand for oximeters and testing kits witness sudden increase as Covid-19 cases rise
Tarun Pathak, Research Director with Counterpoint Technology Market Research, on the other hand, believes that if the new Omicron variant doesn’t reach countries like China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, India, and Japan — which are key to the smartphone supply chain — the phone industry needn’t worry too much.
Pathak, however, suggests that “manufacturers should try to be proactive and bring in COVID related protocols early in their factories to limit the spread. Getting vaccinated is the priority and introducing COVID related protocols well in advance in the factories is the key.”
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Experts believe that if Omicron starts to spread and the situation gets similar to the second wave, it can probably cause a debilitating impact on the already strained supply side dynamics.
Over the next few days or weeks, manufacturers will need to keep a close watch on the potential spread of the Omicron variant. They must also keep a close watch on any consequent impact on smartphone manufacturing hubs, including potential closures.
Drawing lessons from earlier COVID waves, smartphone brands should already be wary and have contingency measures in place to battle potential future risks. Suggesting measures to fight the new COVID variant, experts believe that smartphone majors should reduce over-dependency on suppliers; while also rethinking and recalibrating their production and sourcing strategies.