More than one billion PCs in use by end of next year: report

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Cambridge (MA) – Growing demand for computing solutions in emerging markets will drive the unit count of PCs beyond the one billion mark in 2008, Forrester Research believes.

A new Forrester report puts numbers behind a trend what many component and PC manufacturers believe will become the next major growth phase for the IT industry. Demand from emerging markets, especially in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (commonly referred to as “BRIC” region) will help the IT industry to dramatically increase shipment numbers, the market research firm believes.

Forrester said that there will be more than one billion PCs in use by the end of 2008 and more than two billion by the end of 2015, representing an average annual growth rate of 12% between 2003 and 2015. “While it took 27 years to reach one billion PCs, (…) it will take only five years to reach the next billion, due to advancing technology, lower prices, and global demand on the part of a technology-aware population,” the firm said. Brazil, Russia, India, and China are estimated to account for 775 million of a total of 2 billion PCs until 2015.

"The industry can probably survive selling incrementally better hardware and software to the people who already have technology in their lives, but the vast majority of growth in the PC and related industries will come from emerging markets," stated Forrester research vice president Simon Yates.

However, the firm warned that emerging markets not only offers a new opportunity but also brings new risks: “Vendors are used to the predictability of buyers in mature markets, but high volume launches into emerging markets are risky. Vendors won't have the luxury of introducing products on a small scale to test the market before going into full production because the economics will force suppliers to focus on bringing volume to market more quickly at much greater risk.”

According to Yates, emerging markets will also see longer life cycles of PCs, which not only needs knowledge how to work in these markets needs but will require vendors “to band together to scale production for these emerging regions" as well.