PC market heading for saturation

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Australia's PC market is predicted to become saturated by the year 2010, according to an industry analyst.

Australia's PC market is predicted to become saturated by the year 2010, according to an industry analyst.

PC manufacturers could soon be forced to attach their products to a particular lifestyle as buyers become "immune" to incremental product changes that motivate them to purchase new systems today, said Simon Yates, senior analyst at Forrester.

Yates has penned a report forecasting Australia's PC market to become saturated by 2010. "There's a limit on the number of PC users that will exist in a country. For markets like the US, Australia and South Korea, we believe it will peak at around 85 PCs in use for every 100 citizens," Yates said. 

"Australia has one of the highest adoption rates in the world," he said.

As a result, manufacturers would have to attach their PC marketing messages to areas like the 'digital home', as a small product change such as a new chipset would not necessarily tempt buyers to upgrade. "Manufacturers have a challenge to attach their products to a particular lifestyle such as digital video [production]," he said.

Yates' report found that by the end of 2010 there will be 559 million PCs in 20 Asia-Pacific countries, up from 161 million at the end of 2004.

Growth in emerging PC markets would be most visible -- China and India would add 235 million new PCs by the end of the decade.

In mature markets such as Australia, new PC adoption rates will range between four and seven percent annually through 2010, slowing down at the end of the decade as saturation approaches.

Key drivers in these markets would be the growth of home networks to support multiple PCs and PC alternatives such as smartphones and small form factor computing devices, which could drive a reduction in purchases of traditional PC products, Yates said.

Some Asia-Pacific countries have low adoption rates such as Malaysia (14.7 percent) and Hong Kong (42.2 percent). Other countries such as Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia won't break through the 250,000 user mark before the end of the decade, he said.

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