Second Home PCs, Now Mainstream, Linked to Buying Plans

Like many younger siblings or poorer cousins, if the second home computer had feelings, it might feel a little left behind. It’s certainly not as complete as the favorite one. It doesn’t have as rich an ability to play or share music, videos, or to perform other popular activities. Many consumers, however, are considering upgrading their older home PC or buying a new replacement.The two-PC home is finally official: today, over half (51.6%) of households with a home PC have two or more PCs. Nearly one in five (19.3%) U.S. households have three or more home PCs.

Why is this important?

Companies that offer peripherals or software for PCs need to consider the pent-up upgrade demand in multiple-PC households. Also, PC makers and retailers that limit their vision to only selling one PC at a time, might expand their thinking to consider providing solutions specifically tailored to multiple-PC households.

First of all, the second computer isn’t as musical, even though consumers want it to be. Just over a quarter (28.6%) of households with a second home PC have external speakers compared with more than half (52.3%) on the first PC. However, demand is high with external speakers ranking tops as the most-often planned peripheral purchase, reported among nearly half (45.7%) of multi-PC households.

Scanners are also stronger on the plan-to-buy list than what’s currently installed. Almost one-sixth (15.6%) of second home PCs have a scanner, yet nearly three-in-ten (28.3%) of multi-PC households are planning to buy one soon.

DVD-RW/DVD-R drives are also hot. Although only installed on one-tenth (10.5%) of second home PCs, plans outpace installations. Plans are higher at one in six (16.4%) for DVD-RW/DVD-R and one in seven (14.6%) for DVD-ROM drives. People just want to be able to watch their movies!

Perhaps a surprise, as the numbers are small if steady, is that external microphones and PC headsets still have their share. Even while only one in sixteen (6.8%) second home PCs have an external microphone, nearly double that rate plan an external microphone (11.8%), a PC headset with no microphone (8.6%) or PC headset with microphone (8.5%).

As the two-PC household now has reached mainstream status, the difference between home computers is noticeable to consumers. Music and movies are two activities that really make the difference, and will either result in consumers following through on their plans to upgrade existing PCs, or to just replace the PCs they already have. In either case, these differences represent a discontent that is driving consumers to action, and it remains to be seen who among PC vendors, peripheral vendors, or retailers will best meet this opportunity.

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