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PCs - US - December 2009

The $19 billion home PC industry is very mature, with 83% of US consumers having access to a home PC in their household. Yet technology advances are bringing tremendous changes to this established sector, including new form factors, new operating systems and new players in the market. In this report, Mintel surveys market trends and describes strategies for future success in the home computing market, including:

  • Historic and projected PC sales will be provided for 2004 through 2014, along with sales trends for both laptop and desktop PCs
  • As component prices decline and wireless networking expands its reach, a growing range of devices are gaining “smart” capabilities and competing with PCs. This report will discuss the competitive threat posed by devices like smartphones and home entertainment equipment
  • Current leading players in the PC sector will be discussed, along with emerging players and trends that have introduced new innovations into the market, such as alternate operating systems
  • Key factors impacting home PC sales will be discussed, including the long-lived recession and lingering unemployment, as well as new trends in how consumers are using PCs and online content, such as the emphasis on mobility that has led to the rise of the netbook category
  • Based on data from Mintel proprietary surveys, Mintel will provide a detailed overview of consumer behavior, attitudes and preferences regarding PCs, with an in-depth discussion of product purchases by category and brand

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Mature market faces important transitions
                      • New competitors emerge
                        • Upward mobility remains the trend
                          • New OSes, applications create opportunity despite a poor economy
                            • Apple, Acer gain as Dell loses traction
                              • More opportunity with existing owners than first-time buyers
                                • Dell, Windows, Intel remain the mainstream choices
                                  • Growing interest in multimedia and entertainment
                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                    • Introduction
                                      • PCs with a purpose
                                        • Finally, the right touch?
                                          • Couture computing
                                          • Inspire Insights

                                              • Green Technology: Another look at the OLPC project
                                                • Street Games
                                                  • Foursquare
                                                    • Implications for PC makers
                                                      • Cloud Games
                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • Unit sales growth continues despite sector maturity
                                                            • Lifestyle, OS changes to help drive future sales
                                                                • Figure 1: U.S. sales and forecast for home computers, at current prices, 2004-14
                                                                • Figure 2: U.S. sales and forecast for home computers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2004-14
                                                                • Figure 3: U.S. unit sales for home computers, 2004-14
                                                            • Competitive Context

                                                              • Phones keep getting smarter
                                                                • Figure 4: U.S. unit sales of smartphones, 2004 09
                                                              • More than just fun and games
                                                                • It’s all in the clouds
                                                                • Segment Performance

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Notebooks increase their dominance
                                                                      • Figure 5: U.S. home computer sales at current prices, by segment, 2007 and 2009
                                                                      • Figure 6: U.S. home computer unit sales, by segment, 2007 and 2009
                                                                  • Segment Performance—Notebooks

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Prices fall, sales rise
                                                                        • Netbooks morph into notebooks, phones
                                                                          • Vendors seek new ways to differentiate notebooks
                                                                              • Figure 7: U.S. sales of home notebook PCs, at current prices, 2004-14
                                                                              • Figure 8: U.S. sales of home notebook PCs, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2004 09
                                                                              • Figure 9: U.S. unit sales and average prices of home notebook PCs, at current prices, 2004 09
                                                                          • Segment Performance—Desktops

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Mature category loses share to notebooks
                                                                                • New usage models key to driving sales
                                                                                  • Nettops address value shoppers’ needs?
                                                                                    • Figure 10: U.S. sales of home desktop PCs, at current prices, 2004 09
                                                                                    • Figure 11: U.S. sales of home desktop PCs, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2004 09
                                                                                    • Figure 12: U.S. unit sales and average prices of home desktop PCs, at current prices, 2004 09
                                                                                • Retail Channels

                                                                                  • Brick and mortar stores retain importance
                                                                                    • Figure 13: Location of last PC purchase, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                  • Service vs. savings
                                                                                    • Brands take retail into their own hands
                                                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                                                      • A deep and lasting recession
                                                                                        • Figure 14: Disposable personal income and personal consumption, 2006 09
                                                                                        • Figure 15: U.S. unemployment, January 2009-November 2009
                                                                                      • An end to the Microsoft near-monopoly?
                                                                                        • Will Google be the new OS giant?
                                                                                          • From work to play
                                                                                          • Leading Companies

                                                                                            • Overview
                                                                                              • New opportunity for newcomers?
                                                                                                • Figure 16: Global PC unit shipments, by manufacturer, 2007 09
                                                                                                • Figure 17: Trended brand of most recently acquired PC, by year of purchase, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                            • Brand Qualities

                                                                                              • Acer
                                                                                                • Figure 18: Acer Group, Q1-Q3 08 vs. Q1- Q3 2009 financial summary
                                                                                              • Apple
                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Apple, FY08 09 financial summary
                                                                                                • Dell
                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Dell, FY 08 09 financial summary
                                                                                                  • Hewlett-Packard
                                                                                                      • Figure 21: HP FY09 financial summary
                                                                                                  • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                    • ASRock
                                                                                                      • Archos
                                                                                                        • Tranquil PC
                                                                                                        • Advertising

                                                                                                          • Overview
                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Advertising spend by leading computer brands, 2007 and 2008
                                                                                                          • From speeds and feeds to customer needs
                                                                                                            • Television advertising
                                                                                                              • Apple keeps it simple
                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Apple MacBook Pro ad, 2009
                                                                                                              • Dell dreams in color
                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Dell ad, 2009
                                                                                                              • HP stays personal
                                                                                                                • Figure 25: HP ad, 2009
                                                                                                              • Toshiba gets focused
                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Toshiba ad, 2009
                                                                                                              • Online advertising
                                                                                                              • Ownership

                                                                                                                • More than 90% penetration in key groups; older, younger, low-income lag
                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Household trended ownership of PCs, by age, May 2006-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Household ownership of home computers, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                • Multiple PC ownership on the rise for young, high-income groups
                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Trended number of household computers owned, 2007 09
                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Number of PCs per household and per person in HH, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                • Notebook PC ownership on the rise at desktops’ expense
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Type of PC most recently acquired, by year of purchase, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                • Laptop vs. desktop in most recent purchase
                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Type of PC most recently acquired, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Detailed PC ownership (laptop vs. desktop vs. all-in-one vs. media server), November 2009
                                                                                                                • Average PC spending still remains well more than $1,000
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Mean spending on PCs, by year of purchase, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                              • Purchase Intent

                                                                                                                • Higher-income, younger respondents most likely buyers
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: PC purchase intent and timing, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                • Notebooks dominate product purchase intent
                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Type of PC planned for purchase, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Detail type of PC planned for purchase, November 2009
                                                                                                              • Usage Patterns

                                                                                                                • Leading activities
                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Trended productivity application usage on PCs, May 2006-June 2009
                                                                                                                • Word processing remains most popular productivity app
                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Productivity application usage on PCs, by age, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Productivity application usage on PCs, by household income, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                • Communications and basic multimedia apps now mainstream
                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Trended communications and miscellaneous application usage on PCs, May 2006-June 2007, April 2007-June 2008, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Communications and miscellaneous application usage on PCs, by age, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Communications and miscellaneous application usage on PCs, by household income, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                              • PCs as Audio/Video Equipment

                                                                                                                • Public awaits mainstream, easy-to-use PC DVRs
                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Interest in PC as DVR, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Interest in PC as DVR, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Consumers finally ready for permanent living room installation
                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Use of PC for video output to tv screens, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Consumers ahead of suppliers on audio
                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Gaming, audio, and video editing, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                              • Brands

                                                                                                                • Dell remains on top
                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Brand of most recently purchased PC, by age, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Brand of most recently purchased PC, by household income, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                • HP, Apple gain in respondent purchase plans
                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Expected choice of brand on next PC purchase, trended, April 2007-June2008 vs. November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Expected choice of brand on next PC purchase, by age, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                              • Product Diversification

                                                                                                                • Fair interest in multiple laptop ownership
                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Interest in multiple laptop ownership, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Why the netbook works—and why the nettop might as well
                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: PCs as communication devices, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Heading toward the tablet with GPS and e-reading
                                                                                                                  • Putting it all together for a new class of laptop
                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Interest in touchscreens, GPS, and e-readers, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Interest in touchscreens, GPS, and e-readers, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Isolated Findings

                                                                                                                  • Mom and Dad still making purchase decision for 18-24-year-olds
                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Non-ownership of the purchase decision, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • The Chip matters: Intel still desirable
                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Processor marketing, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Comparatively little loyalty seen for PC brands
                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Incidence of single-brand pc loyalty, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Anti-virus, post-purchase service potential differentiators
                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Willingness to pay for anti-virus service and technical support, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Willingness to pay for anti-virus service and technical support, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                • OS Attitudes

                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Operating system ownership and attitudes, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Operating system ownership and attitudes, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Further into the Cloud

                                                                                                                  • Two quick roads into the cloud
                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Cloud-based storage and access, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Cloud-based storage and access, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Wireless broadband could drive sales for younger and high-income users
                                                                                                                    • Figure 65: Market for wireless broadband, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Market for wireless broadband, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                • Teens and Kids

                                                                                                                  • Teen usage largely universal
                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: PC usage, by teens, 2005 09
                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Usage of various applications on PCs, by teens, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Hourly usage per week of PC gaming and e-mail by teens, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                  • PC ownership by children declines
                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: PC ownership by kids, 2005 09
                                                                                                                    • Figure 71: PC ownership by kids, by age, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                • Netbooks—Ownership and Attitudes

                                                                                                                  • High-income, younger respondents most likely to buy netbook
                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Netbook ownership/purchase intent, by age and household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                    • Satisfaction with netbooks among owners
                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Attitudes towards netbooks, by netbook owners, November 2009
                                                                                                                  • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                      • Leaders
                                                                                                                        • Followers
                                                                                                                          • Traditionalists
                                                                                                                            • Characteristic tables
                                                                                                                              • Figure 74: PC owner clusters, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 75: Ownership and intent to purchase, by PC owner clusters, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 76: Interest in mobility-oriented computing products, by PC owner clusters, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 77: Attitudes toward premium PC brands and interest in multiple laptop ownership, by PC owner clusters, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 78: Interest in PC DVR, PC connected to TV, and high-end PC gaming, by PC owner clusters, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 79: Interest in post-purchase services, by PC owner clusters, September 2009
                                                                                                                            • Demographic tables
                                                                                                                              • Figure 80: PC owner clusters, by gender, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 81: PC owner clusters, by age group, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 82: PC owner clusters, by income group, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 83: PC owner clusters, by race, September 2009
                                                                                                                              • Figure 84: PC owner clusters, by Hispanic origin, September 2009
                                                                                                                            • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                            • Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                              • Asian respondents most likely to own PCs
                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Household ownership of computers, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Type of PC most recently acquired, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Detailed PC ownership by type, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                              • Asian, black respondents plan to buy
                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: PC purchase intent and timing, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 89: Type of PC planned for purchase, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                              • Entertainment could drive purchases for Hispanics, blacks
                                                                                                                                • Figure 90: Productivity application usage on PCs, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 91: Communications and miscellaneous application usage on PCs, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                              • Minorities the go-to arena for new A/V designed/marketed PCs
                                                                                                                                • Figure 92: Interest in PC as DVR, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 93: Use of PC for video output to tv screens, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                              • Mobility and loyalty
                                                                                                                                • Figure 94: Attitudes towards PCs and communications, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2009
                                                                                                                              • PC access lags for black teens
                                                                                                                                • Figure 95: Usage of PCs by teens, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 96: Usage of various applications on PCs by teens, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 97: Child ownership of PCs, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                            • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                              • Ownership lags among older women, lower-income minorities
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 98: Household desktop and laptop ownership, by gender/age, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 99: Household desktop and laptop ownership, by race and household income, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Business purchasing led by men and high-income respondents
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 100: Involvement in PC business purchases, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 101: Involvement in PC business purchases, servers vs. standard PCs, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                  • Electronics stores gain in purchase importance
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 102: Location of last PC purchase, May 2006-June 2007 vs. November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 103: Mean spend on PCs, by age, household income, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Dell preferred by higher-income buyers, but HP is gaining ground
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 104: Trended brand of most recently acquired PC, 2007-09
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 105: PC brand intended to purchase, by household income, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Men enjoy multimedia
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 106: Multimedia/home entertainment PC application usage and attitudes, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 107: Attitudes towards PCs and communications, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                                  • A/V and gaming usage not driven by household income
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 108: Video, home stereo, and gaming usage, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 109: Output to television screens, by household income, November 2009
                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                  • Acer Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • American Electrology Association (AEA)
                                                                                                                                  • American Electronics Association
                                                                                                                                  • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                                                  • Association of Information Technology Professionals
                                                                                                                                  • AT&T Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
                                                                                                                                  • Circuit City (US)
                                                                                                                                  • Consumer Electronics Association
                                                                                                                                  • Dell Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                  • Hewlett-Packard Company
                                                                                                                                  • IEEE Computer Society
                                                                                                                                  • Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Intel Corporation
                                                                                                                                  • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                                                  • Motorola Mobility Holdings
                                                                                                                                  • Netflix, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • Nokia Corporation (US)
                                                                                                                                  • Packard Bell
                                                                                                                                  • Panasonic Corporation of North America
                                                                                                                                  • Research In Motion (USA)
                                                                                                                                  • Samsung Electronics (USA)
                                                                                                                                  • Semiconductor Industry Association
                                                                                                                                  • Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
                                                                                                                                  • Sony Corporation of America
                                                                                                                                  • Swarovski
                                                                                                                                  • Toshiba Corporation (USA)
                                                                                                                                  • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                  • US Department of Labor
                                                                                                                                  • Virgin America
                                                                                                                                  • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                  • Yahoo! Inc

                                                                                                                                  PCs - US - December 2009

                                                                                                                                  £3,199.84 (Excl.Tax)