Has COVID Destroyed Touchscreens Forever?

As COVID-19 reaches all-time highs in cases each and every day, more and more people are beginning to reevaluate how they interact with each other and technology. One area of concern for consumers is the use of touchscreen technology. Whether in the classroom, corporate office or public space, digital signage or display technology containing touchscreen capability now leaves consumers questioning if the use is worth the risk.

According to the CDC it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose. In addition, a study from Australia’s national science agency showed that the virus can live up to 28 days on touchscreen surfaces that are not disinfected. Although this is not the primary method of transmission for COVID-19, the hesitancy in use are very real. Studies have shown that in quick service restaurants across the country customers would rather stand in line to order take-out when no one is at a touchscreen ordering kiosk.

These changes have become apparent in Pro AV as this year there has been an 80% decrease in touchscreen sales across all markets. With such a drop in sales it’s worth asking if COVID-19 has destroyed the future of touchscreens.

Although usage and sales are down now, we are a society that quickly forgets the past, especially if a reason for forgetting means making our lives easier. That’s exactly what touchscreens do: make our lives easier. While sales are down this year and possibly in 2021, expect the recovery in the years beyond as we move past the scares and horrors of 2020.

In the meantime, it’s important if you already have touchscreens installed to properly maintain and sanitize them so that you get your return on investment. The CDC recommends following manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting on touchscreens. If there is no guidance your best course of action is to use alcohol-based wipes or sprays that contain at least 70% alcohol. After wiping it down make sure to dry the surface thoroughly. One alternative to consider is putting a wipeable cover on the surface of the touchscreen.

In 2020 it’s safe to say that COVID has destroyed the touchscreen market. But, it’s also safe to say that after COVID has come and gone we will see a rise in the use of touchscreens once again. The technology, ease of use, and faceless interaction bode well for the future of touchscreens outside of the pandemic. How soon they will make a comeback? That’s yet to be seen.