Hold the predictions

By Edward Lim

Research firms have played a vital role in providing the industry with vital information on market trends and technologies. Reports based on past quarters contain valuable analysis that helps enterprises and consumers make better sense of the numbers.

Another type of reports are predictions on how each market segment — technology, industry or geographical — is going to perform in the next quarter, year or even five years. The assumption is based on past sales, future announcements and prevalent economic situation.

While these crystal ball gazing has been useful in the past, it may be wise to put a pause for now in view of the coronavirus crisis. Experts have already said that COVID-19 may be around well into 2021.

Major technologies events have already been cancelled while those further down the calendar may also not take place. Product launches have been pushed back with events such as the canned Mobile World Congress in Barcelona impacting previews and announcements.

Countries have instituted lock downs in various degrees. Social distancing has become the buzzword with group gatherings (size varies according to country and city) discouraged or banned.

The situation is developing by the day as Europe takes centrestage while China reigns in the spread. New countries are reporting cases while some spreads, such as in Italy and Spain, seem to continue unabated.

With such fluid situations, all predictions by research firms for this year will certainly be off target. It’s best to hold off further forecasting until the COVID-19 outbreak passes.

Hopefully, that will not be longer than anyone expects.