Consumers’ Purchases of Computers and Mobile Phones Will Decline While Purchases of Newer Consumer Technologies Will Soar, New Accenture Survey Finds
NEW YORK; Jan. 4, 2011 – A new Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey predicts that consumer purchase rates for personal computers and mobile phones (excluding smartphones) will decline by 39 percent and 56 percent this year compared with last year, respectively. By contrast, buying rates of 3DTVs (three-dimensional TVs) are expected to rise 500 percent; tablet computers 160 percent; ebook readers 133 percent; and smartphones 26 percent.
The annual survey focused on usage and spending on 19 different consumer electronics technologies among more than 8,000 consumers in eight countries in both emerging markets and developed economies: Brazil, China, India, Russia, France, Germany, Japan and the United States. Survey respondents in emerging countries represent key urban markets rather than the population as a whole.
The survey found that only 17 percent of survey respondents plan to buy a desktop or laptop computer in 2011-- a 39 percent drop from 2010. Tracking with this trend, the survey revealed that 75 percent of U.S. survey respondents emailed each week from their PCs in 2010, down from 80 percent the year before. The research also showed that respondents are using multiple devices such as tablet PCs for activities that used to be done on traditional PCs. For example, on at least a weekly basis, 40 percent of the respondents email from a tablet PC. In addition to checking email, respondents are using tablet PCs for browsing the web, watching videos and reading books, newspapers and magazines.
“The research findings raise the question as to whether, in the long run, desktop and laptop PCs in the home will be increasingly replaced by a group of newer technology alternatives such as tablet computers, netbooks, smartphones and e-book readers,” said Kumu Puri, senior executive with Accenture’s Electronics & High-Tech Practice. “If strength is measured by unit sales, the computer will remain the strong consumer technology giant for many years. Our research found that 93 percent of survey respondents own a computer—a higher proportion than any of the 19 technologies included in the survey. But if measured by growth rate, the PC market--at least for consumers--has reached a level of saturation and will continue to see diminished growth rates. There’s increasing potential for an end in sight for the relevance of the personal computer in the home as we know it today.”
The research also found that ownership of basic mobile phones dropped from 79 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in 2010. In the same period, ownership of smartphones quadrupled from eight percent to 32 percent. In the survey, mobile phones were described as having basic voice capability but not the enhanced features available on smartphones, such as surfing the Internet.
Unlike purchases of PCs and mobile phones, purchase rates of 3D TVs are expected to grow this year at the fastest rate--500 percent—of all 19 technologies included in the survey. As consumer electronics companies consider ways to increase demand for 3D TVs, price emerged as the biggest lever for driving greater interest in this new technology product. According to the survey, 57 percent of respondents said they would be more inclined to buy a 3D TV if the price were within their budget. Finding this price point was more significant among respondents under 24 years old (64 percent) than respondents who were older (50 percent). Other factors respondents said would make them more inclined to buy a 3D TV included having greater availability of 3D content and not having to wear 3D glasses.
Among respondents in all eight countries surveyed, Chinese consumers were among the most enthusiastic purchasers and users of the latest consumer technologies. While two percent to three percent of respondents in most countries own a 3D TV, twice that many Chinese respondents say they own one. Sixty-nine percent of the nation’s respondents want or plan to own a 3D TV, compared with only one-fourth of U.S. consumers and one-fifth of Japanese consumers.
Chinese respondents are big users of smartphones, the survey revealed. More than half (53 percent) of Chinese respondents currently own a smartphone versus one-third of U.S. respondents. Furthermore, smartphones are predicted to be the most purchased device in China next year, with 38 percent of those surveyed planning to buy one.
For a copy of the complete set of survey findings, please visit www.accenture.com/ConsumerTech2011.
The survey, conducted in October and November of 2010, sought to cover a demographically representative sample across all geographies. The annual research began as a U.S. study in 2008 and grew to a global study in 2010. For the 2011 report Accenture conducted a quantitative online consumer study consisting of surveys of 8,002 consumers in eight countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and the United States. In Brazil, China, India and Russia the sample is representative of urban and semi-urban populations. Survey respondents were asked about the following 19 technologies: computers, mobile phones, digital photo cameras, DVD players, regular TV, high definition TV, portable music players, game consoles, VCRs, smartphones, GPS, digital video cameras, portable gaming devices, digital video recorders, netbooks, BluRay players, tablet computers, ebook readers, and 3D TVs. To calculate the change in annual purchasing rates, Accenture first subtracted the percentage who purchased in 2010 from the percent who intend to buy in 2011. That total was divided by the percentage who purchased in 2010.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 211,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
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