MarketMaps is continually conducting research on the changing mobile and consumer markets for information technology products and services. This FAQs & Figures page is designed to demonstrate the kinds of questions and issues we regularly address. If you have a question not answered here, send it to and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Consumer Markets
Q. How many households are planning to buy a PC in the next six months?
A. Based on recent research conducted in the first and second quarters of 1999, MarketMaps estimates that one out of eight households is planning to buy a PC in the second half of 1999. As in the past, households that already own a PC are more likely to be in the market for another. Needless to say not all households planing a purchase will fulfill those plans on the other hand many who were not considering a purchase will make one.
Q. How many PCs are U.S. consumers going to buy in 1999? ...and how much will they spend?
A. MarketMaps projects that 14.1 million PCs will be sold into the consumer market in the U.S. in 1999. This number includes "free" PCs acquired as a "deal" or promotion that make the system free or essentially so. Average spending is expected to be $1,450 per system resulting in $20.4 billion being spent by consumers in 1999. Spending figures include bundled printers, monitors, Internet service, etc. paid for as part of the PC sale.
Q. How could average spending be $1,450 per system with prices dropping below $600 from major manufacturers in addition to those from emachines, Microworkx and others?
A. Low cost and "free" PCs are continuing to get a lot of attention in the press and in local retail ads, but not everybody is buying those systems. In a study done of 1Q99 consumer PC purchases by ACNielsen's Tech*Watch™
Q. Is there much of a consumer market for portable PCs yet?
A. Yes ...and NO! Overall about 10% to 12% of PCs sold into the consumer market in 1999 are expected to be portables. This may not sound like much, but that's approaching 20% of the 8 to 9 million portables expected to be sold in the U.S. in 1999. This forecast may be too conservative in light of the new iBook from Apple and continued push into this space by IBM, Compaq and Toshiba.
Mobile Markets
Q. What are the untapped markets for portable PCs?
A. The quick answer is small and medium enterprises. They have a lower density of PCs per worker overall and so too with portable systems. This is anything but "a" market however - it is a myriad of different segments each with their own needs. In the end this will be the largest market for portables — it has the most workers. College students have been a market that has been tapped for quite some time, but it is a renewable market — 3.5 to 4 million new college freshman every year. Right now about half own their PC and 20% - 25% of those have a portable PC. The portion with a portable is likely to grow as colleges a busily wiring classroom, student centers and lounge areas — many dorm rooms are already wired.
Q. What percent of all workers are likely to be using a portable in say 10 years?
A. Right now about 25% to 30% of workers with PCs have a portable - either in addition to a desktop PC or instead of a desktop. MarketMaps believes that with the changing nature of work - more information handling & coordination of teams as opposed to manufacturing in set hierarchies — coupled with the flexibility provided by portable PCs that 60% to 70% of PCs in business use will be portables in 10 years.
Q. Will Jupiter-class systems replace the thin and light portables that have become popular?
A. No! Jupiter-class systems or the HPC-pro's have a long way to go before they start to replace fully functional portable PCs. MarketMaps believes that this class of Windows CE device will be used primarily with tailored applications either in vertical applications or with some corporate-wide fleet application.
Q. What are the key design issues marketers need to focus on?
A. Industrial design a.k.a. style! The portable is a more personal PC than a desktop. You leave the desktop behind, but take the portable with you - it becomes part of your "businessware" to steal a term from Bert Parekh of Gateway. Apple has raised the bar on this dimension with their iBook and G3.


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