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One billion PCs in use worldwide says Gartner

Worldwide installed base of PCs to double to two billion by 2014 says Gartner, with emerging markets making up 70% of the next billion PCs

Gartner says that the number of PCs in use worldwide has hit the one billion mark, according to its latest figures.

The analyst company says that the installed base - as opposed to shipment figures - is growing at 12% per year, and will hit the two billion mark by early 2014. Emerging markets will account for 70% of the next billion.

George Shiffler, research director at Gartner said: "We expect per capita PC penetration in emerging markets to double by 2013. Rapid penetration in emerging markets is being driven by the explosive expansion of broadband and wireless connectivity in these markets, the continuing fall in PC average selling prices (ASPs), and the general realization that PCs are an indispensable tool for advancement.

"Mature markets such as the United States, Western Europe, and Japan currently account for 58%of the world's installed PCs, but these markets only account for 15% of the world's population. There's a startling difference in per capita PC penetration between mature and emerging markets. Of course, much of this difference reflects the disparity in average living standards between mature and emerging markets. But, rapid economic development across emerging markets is not only narrowing the disparity in average living standards, it's closing the difference in per capita PC penetration between mature and emerging markets," he added.

Gartner also predicts that disposal of PCs at end-of-life will also become a big issue for emerging markets.

"We forecast just over 180 million PCs - approximately 16% of the existing installed base - will be replaced this year," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner. "We estimate a fifth of these, or some 35 million PCs, will be dumped into landfill with little or no regard for their toxic content. The disposition of retired PCs has become a high-profile issue for many PC vendors, governments and environmental interest groups. It will become an even more pressing issue, especially in emerging markets, as the number of retired PCs grows with the continuing expansion of the PC installed base."