Dwindling Desktop Market Resuscitated By Young Canadians

18-24 year olds report increased preference for desktops despite advancements in mobile tech

TORONTO, May 27, 2014 – Though it is likely that desktop computer manufacturers and retailers feel the pressures a mobile technology influx, there is still light at the end of the tunnel for those targeting the right audience. According to Battle of the Screens, a new consumer electronics and information technology study from leading global information company The NPD Group, young Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 have reported an increase in their preference for desktops and are expected to help keep these computer classics on the market.

While many survey respondents reported a decrease in preference, desktops are a favourite of this age group for a number of web-based activities. Within the next three years, the most popular desktop use for 18-24 year olds is projected to be gaming (preference up 11 per cent), household productivity (up eight per cent), and a three-way tie for listening to music, managing /editing photos and work productivity (each up seven per cent). Additional usage intent includes online shopping, watching videos online, using email and online banking.

“Desktop computers are the information hubs at home and at school for many young Canadians, as technology is often shared with family members via a central computer, or amongst classmates in libraries or computer labs,” said Darrel Ryce, director of Technology and Entertainment at The NPD Group. “However, some activities, like gaming, are just amplified on a desktop and the intent to stick with this technology is because the performance benefits of other devices simply don’t compare.”

Though future desktop sales look promising within this demographic, manufacturers and retailers can still anticipate a few challenges. For instance, while most people typically own multiples of a variety of technologies (i.e. there is a mean of 2.4 televisions, two smartphones and 1.8 video game consoles per household in Canada), the average family only owns one desktop. Additionally, since most people keep their desktop computers for many years (34 per cent of Canadians say more than five), there are less purchases being made year over year.

Contributing to this hurdle is the fact that Canadians as a whole are not brand loyal with desktops, so manufacturers cannot rely on repeat business when it is time for customers to make a replacement purchase. Further, having multiple computer devices, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone that are all from one brand is only important to 39 per cent of the population. Though notebooks and smartphones are the leading devices when choosing one brand around which to build inventory (58 per cent and 57 per cent respectively), only 38 per cent would do so around a desktop.

“If the short term is any indication, companies can be comfortable knowing that there will always be segments of the population for which desktops are the best and most practical purchase,” continued Ryce. “That said, given how many desktops are being purchased per household, how long Canadians are keeping them and the reality that most consumers are not tied to a specific brand, manufacturers and retailers should remain conscious of how profitable these devices are and should always be prepared with supplementary ways of boosting their sales.”

Desktops may have found their niche with young Canadians, but busy lifestyles dictate that consumers will always need to be equipped to work and play on the go. As such, Canada’s preferences for tablets, the relatively new tech toy on the market, is on the rise. Embraced by all age groups as a multi-purpose device, tablets are consistently used for a variety of online activities and show strong growth potential within the next three years.

To learn more about how Canadians are using screens in their homes, read Darrel Ryce’s blog.

Study Methodology:
An online survey was fielded from March 14-31, 2014 to a final sample of 2,218 owners of electronic devices across Canada. This survey, designed to better understand the current and future usage of screen devices, and to uncover new opportunities within the Canadian CE and IT sectors, was completed using The NPD Group’s Online Consumer Panel.

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Kylee Berencsi
APEX Public Relations

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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