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What Is the World’s Most Talked-About Tech?

A whole 12 months of what-ifs and uncertainty; 2020 was a year with more than a fair share of doubt to its name. Amidst all of the chaos and confusion of the global pandemic, it seemed like there wasn’t an awful lot for the world to hang their hat on when it came to sure bets. However, there’s at least one thing we’d be confident in confirming: the tech world went un-phased by the pandemic.

With coronavirus leaving many businesses hanging in the balance, tech giants and digital retail names seemed to prosper during what was the worst year on record for, well, just about everything else. As the world made a move to remaining inside, we turned towards tech more than ever.

Whether it was for work reasons or just a means of entertaining ourselves during isolation, technology in the form of consoles, video games, mobiles phones and laptops took even greater precedence in our lives as we balanced work with play from the comfort of home.

With this in mind, we wanted to find out what the world was talking about tech-wise throughout 2020. So join us as we take a look at some of the most talk-about tech of 2020.

How we did it

Collating stats on how many times tech products cropped up in media articles from January of last year, we then ran the names of various mobile phones, laptops, consoles and video games through our database of online media (Muckrack). From here, we collected data on the number of press features each item gained, filtering by continent to see which products were big news since their worldwide releases.


The World’s Most Talked-About Consoles

The Most Talked About Consoles

Looking at eighth and ninth-generation consoles, our results show that despite the PlayStation 5 being anticipated to sell more units than the Xbox Series X, it didn’t stop the latter from gaining more popularity overall. Still, the PS5 wasn’t without its champions, generating more discussion in Africa, South America and Asia.

In another twist, the Xbox One (released all the way back in 2013) managed to top our chart, proving to be the most talked-about console from early 2020 onwards. However, it's easy to see why: July and September (the Xbox One's peak mention period) saw consumer confusion, as buyers – possibly flummoxed by the sheer amount of Xs – accidentally ordered the Xbox One X rather than the new generation Xbox Series X, which caused significant media coverage.

However, the Microsoft console still outperformed the PlayStation 4 in online coverage, seeing more mentions in articles every month since the start of 2020, making it the most talked-about console in every continent.

As for the runner up, the Nintendo Switch outranked all other next-gen consoles, as well as the PlayStation 4, to be the second most talked-about console.


The World's Most Talked-About Video Games

The Most Talked About Video Games

In terms of video games, 2020 was a three-horse race, with Fortnite, Cyberpunk 2077 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons all grabbing the headlines.

Even though it was first released in 2017, online shooter Fortnite took the top spot. Regularly updated to ensure fresh content, its legion of fans and players showed no slowing down in 2020 – perhaps helped by restrictions caused by the pandemic, forcing the worldwide population to turn towards online gaming as a means of entertainment.

Despite appearing on the Switch, the second most talked-about console, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the only Nintendo-exclusive game to make the top 10. In comparison, no Microsoft-exclusive games made the list, while PlayStation dominated the list with nine of the 10 games being playable on either PS4 or PS5.

The other heavy hitter, for all the wrong reasons, was CD Projekt Red's whipping boy Cyberpunk 2077. Awash with bugs and performance woes, the much-anticipated game was released too early, failing to deliver on developer promises in just about every way. Microsoft and PlayStation were forced to offer refunds to anyone who had already purchased the game as a result.


The World's Most Talked-About Mobile Phones

The Most Talked About Mobile Phones

Before we get on to the specifics, what's interesting about the above is that none of the phones listed were in the top 10 best-selling phones of 2020. In actuality, most of the top 10 best sellers were phones that were released in 2019.

Could this be another effect of the pandemic? Were we less concerned with upgrading our phones because we were spending less money on luxuries and non-necessities, and trying to look after the pennies more amidst the new circumstances? Google Trends seems to suggest so: searches for upgrading phones decreased -31% over the course of last year.

As for our own results, the iPhone 12 generated the most interest in terms of press coverage, despite not even being Apple's latest version. Its upgraded and therefore newest relative, the iPhone 12 Pro, came in second place. Did the older version come out on top because it was the more affordable option?

Nevertheless, Apple's hype still dominated global media coverage: the iPhone 12 drummed up the lion's share of the buzz on every continent, followed by the upgraded version. That said, Europe was the only continent where the 12 Pro was not the second most talked-about phone; the Samsung Galaxy S20 lead article mentions in this neck of the woods.

Budget Chinese manufacturers Redmi and OnePlus rounded out the top 10, accounting for 30% of the most talked-about phones worldwide. Though Apple, Samsung and Google (aka the big three) continued to dominate, the appearance of such brands shows an increased interest in more affordable Android options.

The World's Most Talked-About Laptops

The Most Talked About Laptops

With the global pandemic increasing the number of Skype conversations we were having, not to mention Zoom entering the worldwide lexicon and working from home taking place on a larger scale; laptops seemed to serve as a primary conduit to communications as much as phones did the year before. Was our top 10 the result of people looking for new, improved laptops as a result of all the pandemic's sudden changes?

Nevertheless, Dell had three of its products in the top 10, as did Apple, whose MacBook Pro 13 took the lead for the most talked-up laptop. As for why these products made up the column inches, price seemed to play a role. Generally, the more affordable the new laptop, the more online interest it drummed up, with the exception of the MacBook Pro 16's hefty £2,200 price tag.

Almost all of the non-Apple laptops mentioned were 2-in-1 hybrids, suggesting that people were looking for tablet-style solutions, with more traditional-style models being less favoured right now.

Mapped_ World's Most Talked About Laptops

Overall, laptops were talked about significantly less in the media compared to other tech products. Even so, Apple products garnered the most mentions in Europe, while Dell and Microsoft laptops were big news in North America. Is this another blow for Apple, whose MacBook has seen declining sales over the past few years?

CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working to help private and public businesses safely retire and recycle their outdated IT assets. To find out how we could help your business, or for more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846.

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