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A market research report with perspectives and a top-down view
of the PC industry - past, present and future trends

Table of Contents
List of tables and Figures
1.0 Executive Summary
1.1 PC Market Segments
1.2 PC Vendor Shipments
1.3 New PC Opportunities

Table of Contents

1.0 Executive Summary 6
1.1 PC Market Segments 7
1.2 PC Vendor Shipments 8
1.3 New PC Opportunities 9
2.0 PC Forecast Summary 13
2.1 What is Included in the PC Shipment Forecast? 13
2.2 PC Market Perspectives 15
2.3 Worldwide PC Sales Summary 15
2.4 USA PC Sales Summary 17
2.5 Historical Perspectives on USA PC Industry 20
3.0 PC Technology Trends 25
3.1 Technology Trends 25
3.2 Semiconductor Technologies 28
3.3 PC Technology Trends 30
3.4 Mass Storage Technologies 35
3.4.1 Memory Cards 37
3.5 Emerging PC Opportunities 39
3.6 PC Manufacturing 40
4.0 Worldwide PC Forecast 42
4.1 What Countries are in each Region? 42
4.2 Total PC Unit Sales by Region 43
4.3 Server PC Unit Sales by Region 45
4.4 Desktop PC Unit Sales by Region 47
4.5 Mobile PC Unit Sales by Region 48
4.5.1 Netbook PC Forecast 49
4.5.2 Tablet PC Forecast 51
4.6 PCs-in-Use by Region 52
4.7 PCs in Homes by Region 55
4.8 PCs in Businesses by Region 58
5.0 Worldwide PC Revenues 60
5.1 Total PC Revenues by Region 60
5.2 Server PC Revenues by Region 61
5.3 Desktop PC Revenues by Regions 62
5.4 Mobile PC Revenues by Region 63
6.0 Worldwide Shipments of Leading PC Vendors 66
6.1 U.S. Shipments of Leading PC Vendors 68
7.0 Forecast Methodology and Assumptions 73
7.1 PC Demand Factors 75
7.2 Ultimate PC Penetration Rates 77
7.3 PC Forecast Assumptions 80
8.0 Forecast Spreadsheet Details 81
8.1 PC Market Summary by Region 81
8.1.1 USA PC Market Summary 81
8.1.2 N. America PC Market Summary 83
8.1.3 W. Europe PC Market Summary 85
8.1.4 E. Europe PC Market Summary 87
8.1.5 Europe PC Market Summary 89
8.1.6 Asia Pacific PC Market Summary 91
8.1.7 Latin America PC Market Summary 93
8.1.8 M. East/Africa PC Market Summary 96
8.1.9 Worldwide PC Market Summary 98
8.2 PC Manufacturer Summary 99
8.2.1 Acer 101
8.2.2 Apple 101
8.2.3 Compaq Computer Historical Data 102
8.2.4 Dell Computer 103
8.2.5 Gateway 104
8.2.6 Hewlett-Packard 105
8.2.7 IBM Historical Data 107
8.2.8 Lenovo 108
8.2.9 NEC 109
8.2.10 Toshiba 110
9.0 PC Industry Resources 112
9.1 PC-Related Newsletters 112
9.2 PC-Related Magazines 113
9.3 PC-Related Websites 114
9.4 PC-Related Organizations 115
9.5 Other Research Reports by eTForecasts & Computer Industry Almanac 119

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List of Tables and Figures

Table 1.1 U.S. and Worldwide PC Market Growth 6
Figure 1.1 PC Unit Sales by Regions 6
Table 1.2 U.S. and Worldwide PC Market Segments 7
Figure 1.2 PCs In-Use by Regions 7
Table 1.3 U.S. and Worldwide PCs-in-Use and PC Sales Per 1,000 People 8
Table 1.4 PC Sales of Leading Vendors 9
Table 1.5 New PC Opportunities 10
Table 2.1 What is Included in the PC Sales Forecast? 13
Table 2.2 PC Market Perspectives 15
Table 2.3 Worldwide PC Market 16
Figure 2.1 Worldwide PC Sales by Product Segments 17
Table 2.4 Worldwide PC Market Segments 17
Table 2.5 USA PC Market 18
Figure 2.2 USA PC Product Unit Sales 19
Table 2.6 USA PC Market Segments 19
Table 2.7 USA Historical PC Sales 20
Table 2.8 USA PC Generations: 1-3 21
Table 2.9 USA PC Generations: 4-6 21
Table 2.10 USA PC Generations: 7-10 22
Figure 3.1 Technologies for PCs 25
Figure 3.2 Technology Price-Performance Wedge 26
Table 3.1 Technology Wedge Impact 27
Figure 3.3 Technology Wedge Families 27
Table 3.2 Semiconductor Technology Trends 28
Table 3.3 PC Technology Trends 30
Table 3.4 Network-Communications Technologies 33
Table 3.5 Storage Technology Trends 36
Table 3.6 Small Form Factor Memory Cards 38
Table 3.7 Emerging PC Opportunities 39
Table 3.8 Leading Motherboard PC Suppliers 40
Table 3.9 Leading Notebook PC Suppliers 41
Table 4.1 Countries by Regions 42
Table 4.2 PC Unit Sales by Region 43
Table 4.3 Regional Market Shares for PC Unit Sale 45
Table 4.4 Regional PC Unit Sales Per 1,000 People 45
Table 4.5 Server PC Unit Sales by Region 45
Table 4.6 Regional Market Shares for Server PC Unit Sale 46
Table 4.7 Desktop PC Unit Sales by Region 47
Table 4.8 Regional Desktop PC Unit Sale Market Shares 48
Table 4.9 Mobile PC Unit Sales by Region 48
Table 4.10 Regional Mobile PC Unit Sale Market Shares 49
Table 4.11 Netbook PC Unit Sales by Region 49
Table 4.12 Regional Netbook PC Unit Sale Market Shares 50
Table 4.13 Tablet PC Unit Sales by Region 51
Table 4.14 Regional tablet PC Unit Sale Market Shares 52
Table 4.15 PCs-in-Use Per 1,000 People by Region 52
Table 4.16 PCs-in-Use by Region 53
Table 4.17 Server PCs-in-Use by Region 53
Table 4.18 Desktop PCs-in-Use by Region 54
Table 4.19 Mobile PCs-in-Use by Region 55
Table 4.20 Households With PCs by Region 56
Table 4.21 PCs-in-Use Per Household by Region 56
Table 4.22 PCs in Homes by Region 57
Table 4.23 Share of PCs in Homes of Total PCs by Region 58
Table 4.24 PCs in Businesses by Region 58
Table 4.25 Share of PCs in Businesses of Total PCs by Region 59
Table 5.1 Worldwide PC Revenues by Region 60
Table 5.2 Regional PC Revenue Market Shares 61
Table 5.3 Server PC Revenue by Region 61
Table 5.4 Regional Server Revenue Market Shares 62
Table 5.5 Desktop PC Revenue by Region 62
Table 5.6 Regional Desktop PC Revenue Market Shares 63
Table 5.7 Mobile PC Revenue by Region 64
Table 5.8 Regional Mobile PC Revenue Market Shares 64
Table 6.1 Leading PC Vendors' Worldwide Shipments: 1990-1999 66
Table 6.2 Leading PC Vendors' Worldwide Shipments: 2000-2007 66
Table 6.3 Leading PC Vendors' Worldwide Shipments 2008-2014 67
Table 6.4 Leading PC Vendors' Worldwide Unit Market Shares 67
Table 6.5 Top 10 PC Brands in 2007 68
Table 6.6 Leading PC Vendors' USA Shipments: 1990-1999 69
Table 6.7 Leading PC Vendors' USA Shipments: 2000-2007 69
Table 6.8 Leading PC Vendors' USA Shipments 2008-2014 69
Table 6.9 Leading PC Vendors' USA Unit Market Shares 70
Table 7.1 PC Demand Factors 73
Table 7.2 USA Ultimate PC Penetration in 2020 75
Table 7.3 2020 USA PC Replacement Sales Scenario 76
Table 7.4 Ultimate PC Penetration Factors 76
Table 7.5 PC Forecast Assumptions 77
Table 7.6 PC Product Trend Assumptions 79
Table 8.1 PC Shipment Forecast Content 80
Table 8.2 PC Vendor Forecast Content 80
Table 8.3 USA PC Market Summary 81
Table 8.4 N. America PC Market Summary 83
Table 8.5 W. Europe PC Market Summary 85
Table 8.6 E. Europe PC Market Summary 87
Table 8.7 Europe PC Market Summary 89
Table 8.8 Asia Pacific PC Market Summary 92
Table 8.9 Latin American PC Market Summary 94
Table 8.10 M. East/Africa PC Market Summary 96
Table 8.11 Worldwide PC Market Summary 99
Table 8.12 Acer 100
Table 8.13 Apple Computer 101
Table 8.14 Compaq Computer Historical Data 102
Table 8.15 Dell Computer 103
Table 8.16 Gateway Historical Data 105
Table 8.17 Hewlett Packard 106
Table 8.18 IBM Historical Data 107
Table 8.19 Lenovo PC Business 108
Table 8.20 NEC 109
Table 8.21 Toshiba 110
Table 9.1 PC-Related Newsletters 112
Table 9.2 PC-Related Magazines 113
Table 9.3 PC-Related Websites 114
Table 9.4 PC-Related Organizations 115
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1.0 Executive Summary

The PC industry celebrated its 35th year anniversary in 2010. From its humble beginning as hobby computer kits in the spring of 1975, the PC industry has come a long way. In 1975 less than 50,000 PCs were sold with a value of about $60M. From this limited start the PC industry has grown to unit sales of over 280M units in 2009.  PC retail revenue topped $330B in 2007 and 2008, but is in a declining phase due to continued price declines and a shift to low-cost products such as netbooks. The next table shows the tremendous growth of the PC industry in the last 30+ years.  And the growth of the PC industry will continue, but at much lower rates than previously-at least in terms of unit sales.

The sheer size of the PC industry limits its growth rate, but the yearly worldwide sales will grow by over 40% in the next five years—from 231M units in 2006 to nearly 335M in 2012 or a 6.3% compound annual growth rate. Worldwide number of PCs in-use surpassed 900M units in 2005 and will reach 1.47B units by year-end 2011. Worldwide cumulative PC sales topped 1B units in 2002 and will top 2B in 2007 and 3B in 2011. PCs in-use reached 241M in the U.S. in 2006 and will top 300M in 2012.


Table 1.1   U.S. and Worldwide PC Market Growth

  1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
U.S. PC Sales (#M) 0.04 0.76 6.6 9.5 21.4 46.0 62.0 77.1 88-90
U.S. PC Revenues ($B) 0.05 1.5 17.2 24.5 56.8 86.9 90.5 75.4 70-75
U.S. PC Installed Base (#M) 0.04 1.4 19 51 86 177 234 295 360-370
Worldwide PC Sales (#M) 0.05 1.1 11 24 58 132 207 301 400-410
Worldwide PC Revenues ($B) 0.06 3.6 29.5 71 155 251 301 300 310-320
Worldwide Installed Base (#M) 0.05 2.1 33 100 225 529 910 1,415 1,980-2,030

Yearly PC sales for the U.S. and the main regions of the world are summarized in the next figure. North America will remain the largest region until 2009. All figures are in millions of units.

Figure 1.1: PC Sales by Regions

PC revenue was growing slower than unit growth due to considerable price declines and is now declining due to lower unit sales growth than price declines. The worldwide PC revenues were $251B in 2000, which increased to over $333B in 2007. Worldwide PC revenue will decline to $300B in 2010 and will remain in this range for the next five years.

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1.1 PC Market Segments

This PC forecast consists of three product segments—PC servers, desktop PCs and mobile or battery-powered PCs. Mobile PCs are dominated by notebook PCs. Sales of the three PC segments are shown in the next table.

Table 1.2   U.S. and Worldwide PC Market Segments

Unit Sales 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 2010 2014
U.S. PC Server Sales (#M) 0.04 0.51 2.5 3.6 4.1 4.0 4.4
U.S. Desktop PC Sales (#M) 8.4 16.8 33.1 36.0 32.0 25.4 22.6
U.S. Mobile PC Sales (#M) 1.1 4.1 10.4 22.4 34.8 44.5 59.8
Worldwide PC Server Sales (#M) 0.06 0.94 5.6 10.5 14.1 14.3 17.0
Worldwide Desktop PC Sales (#M) 21.7 47.1 97.8 130.4 138.1 116.6 103.6
Worldwide Mobile PC Sales (#M) 2.4 10.0 28.5 66.3 126.0 169.8 264.0

The desktop PC segment remained the largest PC segment through 2008. Both PC servers and mobile PCs are taking market share from the desktop PC segment. Mobile PCs include all laptop, notebook, netbook and other mobile PCs. The emerging tablet PCs and wearable PCs are also included in the mobile PC segment. PDAs and Smartphones are excluded. Worldwide mobile PC unit sales topped desktop PC sales in 2009 due to the exceptional success of netbook PCs.

PCs in-use for the main regions of the world is shown in the next figure. Asia Pacific became the largest region for PCs-in-use in 2004. All figures are in millions of units.

 Figure 1.2: PCs In-Use by Regions

Worldwide PC in-use has grown from 98M units in 1990 to over 1.2B systems in 2008 and is projected to reach nearly 1.9B units in 2014.

PC sales per capita and PCs-in-use per capita indicates the maturity and PC penetration rate of a given market. The higher the PC penetration rate is, the lower the growth is. The next table shows the PC sales per 1,000 people and PCs-in-use per 1,000 people in the U.S. and worldwide.

Table 1.3   U.S. and Worldwide PCs-in-Use and PC Sales Per 1,000 People

  1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 2010 2014
U.S. PC Sales Per 1,000 People 38.1 80.2 163.0 209.4 232.8 238.4 270.6
U.S. PCs-in-Use Per 1,000 People 192.1 320.7 627.7 790.5 883.8 950.6 1,095
Worldwide PC Sales Per 1,000 People 4.6 10.2 21.7 32.1 41.6 43.9 53.5
Worldwide PCs-in-Use Per 1,000 People 18.6 39.8 87.2 141.0 179.8 206.3 263.8

The table clearly shows that the U.S. penetration is rising rapidly and signals that PC growth rates are likely to decline. Western Europe also has relatively high PC penetration rates. The rest of the world is further behind in PC sales and PC usage per capita and therefore has room for continued growth.

From its hobby computer roots in 1975, the PC grew to become a useful productivity tool by 1980 for office applications. In the early to mid-1980s the foundation was established to make the PC ubiquitous by the 1990s. De facto hardware and software standards were established and the key PC application segments emerged.

By the mid-1980s the PC became the driving force for the whole computer industry, and it retained this crown for over 10 years. PC industry dynamics changed by the late-1990s when PCs became the means to get to the Internet. Since the late 1990s the Internet has become more important than the PC industry. Today the Internet applications are the main driving force for the PC and the whole computer industry. But it is important to understand that the foundation of the Internet is mainly based on the PC industry and a vast land-based packet communication network. In the next decade a cellular-based packet communications network and broadband will further grow the Internet applications and the Internet access devices.

Over the next 10 years the PC industry will prosper and thrive with two additional driving forces—consumer electronics devices built with computing platforms and mobile devices such as Smartphones and multi-function cell phones. The PC industry is very competitive and has a good record of adapting to emerging technologies and market trends. This is likely to happen again and the PC industry will embrace information/digital appliances and mobile devices.

Computer hardware and software platforms are invading the fixed function electronic devices in the telecommunication, consumer electronics, auto electronics and related industries. The long-term trend is clear: most electronic devices will sooner or later be based on microprocessors, software, networking and other computer hardware technologies. This will happen because the cost decline, capability growth and flexibility of computer platform-based designs eventually become the best solution. The key question is not if this will happen, but when will it happen in the various product segments.

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1.2 PC Vendor Shipments

Dell and HP are currently the leading PC manufacturers and they will remain the top 2 vendors for at least the next few years. The next table shows the historical PC sales and future projections of these two companies. Note that the PC sales of Compaq and HP are combined for all the years including the pre-merger years shown in the table (1990, 1995 and 2000).

Table 1.4   PC Sales of Leading Vendors

  1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 2009
Dell Computer: USA (#K) 143 1,145 9,690 21,455 19,785 20,775
Dell Market Share: USA (%) 1.50 5.36 21.06 34.60 27.92 29.08
HP & Compaq: USA (#K) 480 3,870 13,295 13,900 16,300 16,870
HP/Compaq Market Share USA: (%) 5.03 18.11 28.90 19.95 23.00 23.61
Dell Computer: WW (#K) 205 1,930 15,050 37,300 43,720 44,155
Dell Market Share WW: (%) 0.84 3.31 11.41 16.31 15.72 15.69
HP & Compaq: WW (#K) 1,035 8,200 27,985 37,950 55,050 56,700
HP/Compaq Market Share WW: (%) 4.26 14.06 21.22 16.29 19.79 20.15

Compaq, Dell or HP/Compaq have been the PC sales leader since 1994 in the USA and worldwide. Dell became the worldwide PC sales leader in 2001, but was surpassed in 2002 by HP because of its merger with Compaq. Dell took the lead again in 2003 and kept the lead through 2006. HP regained the worldwide lead in 2007 and is forecasted to retain the lead through the forecast period. Dell is likely to retain its lead over HP in the USA in the next five years.

Dell has a much stronger market share in the USA than worldwide. This is because Dell’s business model is fully developed in the USA, but remains in the start-up phase or in the early to mid-level development phase outside the USA. As Dell’s business model grows and takes hold outside the USA, Dell’s market share will strengthen. Dell may not establish as high a market share outside the USA, but the market share will grow as Internet sales grow in the developing countries. Dell lost market share to HP starting in mid-2006 due to HPs strong performance. In response Dell is starting to use the reseller distribution channels and this should strengthen Dell’s competitive posture versus HP.

The report and spreadsheet also have PC sales estimates for six other PC companies: Acer, Apple, Gateway, Lenovo, NEC/Packard-Bell and Toshiba  and historical sales data for Compaq, IBM and Gateway.

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1.3 New PC Opportunities

The PC industry is seeing several new opportunities. The next table summarizes the many new opportunities created by information appliances and wireless devices for the PC industry. There are four new opportunities that are line-extensions of the existing PC market. There are also several opportunities that expand PC usage as the infrastructure for the emerging information and wireless devices that are using computer hardware and software platforms as their basic architecture.

Multi-PC households use home PC servers to simplify and lower Internet access cost and to coordinate other PC activities. A home server may not always increase the number of PCs in a household because the function is served by one of the existing PCs. However, the home server PC is usually a more capable PC and increases the average PC price. The home PC server is already established and will continue to grow in the next decade.

The Media PC is focused on handling multi-media functions such as TV, video, music and photos. Thus the Media PC will be competing with the traditional consumer electronics products. The Asian and European consumer electronics companies have formed a consortium to promote Linux as the standard for media PCs. Windows XP Media PCs have been available since 3Q’2002 and has a lead over Linux-based devices, which is now emerged. The Media PC is a growing opportunity that has significant future potential.

The netbook is barely two years old and has had a tremendous impact. The netbook also has the potential to expand the PC market because it may become the 3rd PC for office workers or a 2nd PC for home users. The netbook PC may also become an extra PC in the home for its easy portability around the house or as a travel companion. The Tablet PC is likely to expand the overall PC market because a portion of the mobile work force that previously could not use PCs now have a product that can enhance their productivity and capabilities. The Tablet PC may also increase the number of multi-PC workers. This report has a forecast for the netbook PC and the tablet PC market.

The Mobile Internet Device (MID) is similar to the netbook PC with an embedded broadband connection. The MID category has been articulated by Intel using its new low-power Atom microprocessor. The Smartbook is similar to the MID and is considered a cross between a Smartphone and a netbook. Smartbook and MIDs are likely to compete with high-end Smartphones. The Smartbook and MID are also expected to be a platform battle for Windows and Linux-based operating systems. Smartbook and MID products may also become a 3rd PC for many office workers or home users. The opportunity for Smartbooks and MIDs looks very promising.

Technology advances allow PC functionality to be put in smaller packages, which means handheld PCs will eventually become a viable product segment. There are a few handheld PCs available from companies such as Antelope Technologies, OQO and others are developing Windows-based handheld PCs. Handheld PCs will overlap will high-end PDAs and Smartphones. Handheld PCs will be attractive to a portion of PDA users due to availability of the PC software base. The market size of the handheld PC segment is unclear, but could be significant in 10 years.

Table 1.5  New PC Opportunities

Opportunity PC Products Comments
Home network servers All types of PCs, from desktop PCs to low-end servers Synchronization and information sharing between multiple devices
Media PCs PC & server for photo, music and TV/video applications Will expand consumer PC market due to multiple PCs per households
Tablet PCs Portable PCs with handwriting input Expands notebook PC market
Netbook PCs Low-cost and small notebook PC Expands office & home markets
Mobile Internet Device (MID) Similar to netbook w/broadband link · Based on Intel Atom microprocessor Competes with high-end Smartphones. Windows versus Linux battle ground
Smartbook Between Smartphone & netbook Windows & Linux platform battle
Handheld PCs PCs in handheld form factor · Similar to PDAs & Smartphones First products are emerging, but will be important in 3-5 years.
Service infrastructure for web cell phones PC servers—low-end to high-end products will gain most of this market 10 year potential is 1B+ devices that will need information from servers
Web caching networks PC servers—mostly high-end products will gain most of this market Web caching networks are used to improve web access performance
Content development systems All types of PCs, but mostly high-end desktop PCs Web content for wireless devices will be developed on PCs
Information appliances or digital appliances PC appliances will gain a significant share of information appliance market Microprocessors, peripherals and software components
Information appliance building blocks Microprocessors, peripherals and software components Many PC companies will benefit from this trend
Service infrastructure for information appliances PC servers—low-end to high-end products will gain most of this market 10 year potential is 1B+ devices that will need information from servers

Information appliances are new opportunities for the PC industry, because they will use PC hardware and software. PC microprocessors—usually low-end versions or earlier generations—will be used in a significant portion of information appliances. PC peripherals such as disk drives, printers, pointing devices and others will see widespread use with information appliances. PC hardware technologies such as flat displays, keyboards, touch panels and memory cards will be used in every information appliance. Information appliances will also use PC software and software based on current PC software. The Smartbook and MID are likely to remain information appliances.

The infrastructure that will be used to connect and deliver services to the information appliances is another opportunity for PCs—especially PC servers. Most of the information appliance service content will be stored in databases that will run on PC servers. The service content will be distributed to additional caching servers as part of the Internet infrastructure. Caching servers are used for performance response time enhancement. The number of PC servers needed to feed the information appliances will be proportional to the installed base of information appliances and will be in the millions of units by 2014.

Another big PC opportunity is the need that will develop in homes that have multiple information appliances such as web set-top boxes and digital TVs. A large portion of these homes will need a server that coordinates data transfers, data storage and other functions between the information appliances. These home PC servers are already emerging for multi-PC households and will get a further boost from multi-IA households. The worldwide number of home PC servers will be in the tens of millions by 2014.

The software and content for information appliances will not be developed on information appliances, but on high-end PCs. Software development systems for information appliances may be another million unit opportunity for PCs by 2010.

In summary, the emerging information appliance segment will have little impact on the PC industry in the next five years. Information appliances may take some sales away from PCs, but they will also generate new opportunities for the PC industry. Millions of PC servers will be needed to support the hundreds of millions of information and web appliances that will be used in homes, offices and mobile locations. PC appliances, which are information appliances based on PCs, will provide another opportunity for the PC industry. The introduction of PC appliances embraces the information appliance market by creating easier-to-use application-specific PC-based products. 

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