Desktops steady in workplace, losing ground in the homefront: Survey

Desktop PC may be popular in the office, but definitely losing out in the battle of the screens in the homefront, according to a recent survey by consumer market research company NPD Group.

“It’s important to understand that PC devices are not going away and there are still many opportunities for desktops,” Darrel Ryce, director of technology and entertainment for NPD told CDN. “But among consumers we are seeing a definite shift in the preferred device for connecting to the Internet.”

In its survey titled Battle of the Screens, NPD polled some 2,200 technology users aged 14 and older across Canada. The respondents were queried in their usage of television, desktop computers, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones.

For instance overall Canadian ownership of Laptops was placed at 80 per cent; smart phones, above 70 per cent; desktops 68 per cent; tablets 50 per cent; and TVs above 90 per cent.

“But while many households have multiple smart phones, tablets, laptops and even TV’s, a typical home will have only one desktop,” said Ryce.

The demise of the desktop at home can also be seen in the lower number of households purchasing a new unit.

The percentage of respondents who have a desktop that is less than one year old is 10 per cent compared to 18 per cent for laptops.

Households with tablets that are less than three-years-old are around 87 per cent. About 40 per cent of homes have TV sets that are less than three-years-old.

Ryce said the newer Web-enabled TVs are becoming popular with a more mature generation of viewers who use the units to connect to the Internet to stream video and movies.

The top uses for each device:


Web surfing
Online research
Productivity for work and home


Web surfing
Online research
Productivity for work and home
Online shopping
Editing and maintaining photos


Web surfing
Reading books and magazines
Social networking
Online research
Viewing online video

Smart phones

Social networking
Email Web surfing
Listening to music
Video chat

While researchers found a marked decline in the preference for desktops at home Ryce was quick to add that the same could not be said for the workplace.

“From a retail and distribution point of view, we’re seeing a strong growth in the desktop and notebook market,” he said. “The growth for desktops will particularly be in the high-performance units used for gaming, game development and other heavy computing tasks.”

“There’s still a lot of opportunity in the channel partner space, because it’s the VARs who can offer the solutions that will enhance and extend desktop performance,” he said.



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Nestor Arellano
Nestor Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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