Cambridge, Mass. — The number of personal computers in use worldwide will more than double in the next six years with the vast majority of growth taking place in China, Russia and India, according to a report from Forrester Research.
Forrester’s analyst Simon Yates forecast that 1.3 billion PCs will be in use, up from about 575 million today, with only about 150 million of these computers selling into the well established U.S., European and Asian-Pacific markets.
By 2010 Forrester projects China adding 178 million PCs users, India 80 million and Indonesia 40 million. Mexico will see a huge jump in penetration with 46 percent of all Mexicans having a computer.
Yates said Western PC vendors will have to work hard to grab a portion of these emerging markets. He said local PC makers, like China’s Lenovo Group and Russia’s Aquarius, will have a built-in advantage due to their knowledge of their local markets. Microsoft also will have a tough time as these local manufactures are likely to choose Linux-based operating systems over Windows. Yates said the lack of an established base of Windows users and the fact that Linux systems are less expensive will put Microsoft in a tough spot to compete.
Established brands like Dell and Hewlett-Packard will see their best chance at selling into these markets during the next few years. Yates expects wealthy urbanites who are better educated and brand-conscious to represent the first wave of new PC adopters. The next wave will contain the educated middle-class. Local vendors will use their understanding of these consumers to grab a lion’s share of the sales to this group, according to Forrester. People living in rural areas are expected to be the last wave of adopters. However, a lack of infrastructure and price sensitivity could force these individuals to pass by PCs in favor of smartphones or other wireless devices that don’t require landlines or a constant power source.