Gartner says industry has reached landmark figures; predicts two billion in 2014

One billion PCs in use worldwide

Sub-notebooks are expected to head up an IT revolution that will see over two billion PCs in use by 2014, according to analysts at Gartner.

In its latest report on the global IT market, it says that the install-base for PCs worldwide – those in use as opposed to the amount shipped – has recently passed the one billion mark, but is likely to reach the two billion mark within six years thanks to the proliferation of low costs PCs aimed specifically at developing markets.

"Mature markets such as the United States, Western Europe and Japan currently account for 58 per cent of the world’s installed PCs, but these markets account for only 15 per cent of the world’s population," commented research director at Gartner, George Shiffler.

He added that the firm expects per capita PC penetration to double by 2013, thanks to "the explosive expansion of broadband and wireless connectivity in these markets, the continuing fall in PC average selling prices and the general realisation that PCs are an indispensable tool for advancement."

However, the firm highlighted that around 16 per cent of all computers currently in use – approximately 180 million units – will be replaced over the next 12 months, increasing pressures on landfill and the WEEE initiative.

Speaking about the issue, principle research analyst at Gartner, Meike Escherich added that the firm expects around one fifth of those PCs "will be dumped into a landfill with little or no regard for their toxic content.

"The disposition of retired PCs has become a high-profile issue for many PC vendors, governments and environmental interest groups," she added. "It will become an even more pressing issue – especially in the emerging markets – as the number of retired PCs grows with the continuing expansion of the installed PC base."

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