There will be over one billion PCs in use worldwide by the end of 2008, according to a new report by Forrester Research.
And with PC adoption in emerging markets growing fast, there will be more than two billion PCs in use by 2015, Forrester predicts.
It took 27 years to reach the one billion mark, but Forrester expects the rate of PC adoption to accelerate dramatically due to advancing technology, lower prices and global demand on the part of a technology-aware population.
According to Forrester, the emerging Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) market will account for more than 775 million new PCs by 2015.
"There is nothing more important to the long-term health of the technology industry and personal technology in particular than the ability to deliver relevant, accessible and affordable technology to the billions of people worldwide who have not been exposed to it," said Simon Yates, Forrester Research vice president and research director.
"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," said Yates.
Forrester forecasts an acceleration in growth but also unpredictability in emerging markets. Vendors, it notes, are used to the predictability of buyers in mature markets, but high-volume launches into emerging markets are risky. According to Forrester, PC sellers 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.
"There are risks. It is safe to assume that life cycles will be longer in emerging markets. Vendors, accustomed to mature markets where the average life cycle is between four and five years, will need to have a deep understanding of how to work in these markets and, with less of a market for replacement PCs, will need to band together to scale production for these emerging regions," said Yates.
Forrester praises Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the Intel World Ahead Program, AMD 50x15, and OLPC for their efforts in reaching untapped markets. Its findings are contained in a report entitled Worldwide PC Adoption Forecast to 2015.
© 2007 ENN