PC Market Headed for Geographic Shift

The PC market has been in the doldrums, but that didn’t stop the worldwide number of PCs in use from surpassing 600 million in 2001.

According to the Computer Industry Almanac, the number of PCs will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.4 percent over the next six years to more than 1.15 billion PCs by the end of 2007.

The United States has the largest number of PCs in use with 175 million at the end of 2001, but growth has been slow of late. The U.S. PC market will grow only 6.2 percent annually to reach 251 million units in 2007, the Computer Industry Almanac predicts. Annual PC sales in the United States run upwards of 40 million units in the United States, but the annual number of PCs in use will grow by only 13 million per year because of PC replacement rates of more than 70 percent.

In more developing regions, PC replacement rates are much lower. By the end of 2002, the Computer Industry Almanac expects Asia-Pacific will become the leading region in the world for number of PCs in use despite lower annual sales than the United States. Asia-Pacific will have 367 million PCs in use in 2007. Western Europe is also expected to surpass the United States by 2004.

PCs in Use by Region
1995 2000 2001 2007
Worldwide 229 530 603 1,150
Share in homes 35.2% 43.5% 45.1% 52.3%
United States 93.5 162 175 251
Share in homes 36.9% 49.0% 50.4% 54.6%
Western Europe 62.4 139 158 285
Share in homes 39.2% 48.5% 49.9% 52.9%
Asia-Pacific 43.6 139 166 367
Share in homes 29.3% 35.8% 38.3% 53.9%
Source: Computer Industry Almanac

Unlike Asia-Pacific, Western Europe and the worldwide numbers, the United States still has more PCs than cell phones, and it will remain that way until 2004 or 2005, according to the Computer Industry Almanac. Cell phones surpassed PCs in Asia-Pacific in 1997, in Western Europe in 1999 and worldwide in 2000.

The U.S. and worldwide PC markets both suffered from a decline in shipments in 2001, according to preliminary figures from Gartner Dataquest, marking only the second time that’s ever happened.

According to Gartner Dataquest, worldwide PC shipments totaled 128 million units in 2001, a 4.6 percent decline from 2000. PC shipments in the United States reached 44 million units, an 11.1 percent decline from 2000. The last time the PC industry experienced such a difficult year was 1985, when worldwide PC shipments declined 2.3 percent, and U.S. PC shipments dropped 21.8 percent.

Dataquest analysts said the current estimates are for worldwide PC shipments to decline 4 percent in the first quarter of 2002, but finish the year with a growth rate of 4 percent.

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