Mobile PC Market – Size and Trends

Mobile PC Market – Size and Trends

After more than three decades of pioneering and innovative experimentation, mobile PCs have finally reached the mainstream. During the first half of 2008, consumers and employees acquired as many mobile PCs as desktops.

News flash: even more recent updates to this information are available to subscribers to the full Technology User Profile service, the TUP Overview Report, and other TUP Profile Reports. For examples of mobile market questions answered by TUP, refer to the TUP Answers page for Mobile Computing. and the TUP Answers page for Mobile Phones.

The Shift To Mobility

The installed base is still dominated by desktops, representing many years of accumulation and retirement of consumer-owned and employer-owned PCs, some acquired new and others acquired used or refurbished. Of the 144 million PCs being used by American adults as their primary PC, one-third (33%) are mobile PCs, mostly owned by consumers.


The installed base is increasingly mobile, although still dominated by older desktops. While half of PCs in use that were acquired in early 2008 are mobile, those acquired in the prior 2 years are made up of 65% desktops and 35% mobile PCs.

This is due in part to three main effects: an increasing price performance ratio relative to desktops, consumer buying behavior, and the physical longevity of desktops. During the last decade, the functionality and capability of notebooks has increased to meet and often exceed that offered in a similarly priced desktop. This has encouraged buyers to consider notebooks over desktops even when mobility is not a primary purchase factor.


Buying habits are also a factor. American technology consumers often buy both hardware and software with more features than they actually need or end up using, as a type of hedge against technological obsolescence and unforeseen needs.

Furthermore, mobile PCs, although designed to be mobile, are relatively fragile. This contributes to their life being shorter than for desktops. The average age of a primary desktop PC is 3.2 years, nearly one year longer than the average age of a mobile PC: 2.3 years.

Other findings in the Mobile PC Profile Report include:

Brand Shares of Mobile & Desktop PCs
Mobile PC Brands by Year Acquired
Market Segments and Mobile PC Brands
Operating Systems & Mobility
Operating Systems on Mobile PCs – Pre-installed or Aftermarket?
Operating Systems by Mobile PC Brand
User Age and Mobile Computing
User Age and Mobile PC Brand
User Gender and Mobile PC Brand
Age within Gender of Primary Computer User and Mobile PC Brand
Number of Locations by Gender and Age
Employment Status and Mobile Computing
Employment Status and Mobile PC Brands
Market Segment by Mobile PC Brand
Big & Small Companies and PC Mobility
Educational Level and Mobile PC Brand
Household Income by Mobile PC Brand
Age of Kids and Mobility of PC
Mobility Doesn’t Always Mean Mobile Use
Locations for Mobile PCs
Public PC Locations by Mobile PC Brand
Mobile PC Brand by Number of Locations Used
Mobile PC Users and the Total Number of PCs Used
Mobile PC Brand by Number of PCs Regularly Used
PC Purchase Year by Mobility
New versus Used/Refurbished by Mobile PC Brand
Hours of Use by Mobile PC Brand
Busy Mobile PCs and Mobile PC Brands
Activities and Mobility
Major Activities Point Out that Mobile PC Brands Vary
Tech Attitude Gap between Mobile PC and Desktop Users
Tech Attitudes by Mobile PC Brand
Brand Loyalty by Mobile PC Brand
Scanners by Mobile PC Brand
Docking Solutions by Mobile PC Brand
Firewire Usage by Mobile PC Brand
Sony Mobile PC Users Shop at a Broader Selection of Outlets
Which Mobile PC Users Frequent which Online and Retail Outlets
Retail Purchase Channels & Outlets by Mobile PC Brand
Online Purchase Channels & Outlets by Mobile PC Brand

The Mobile PC Profile Report is available for immediate purchase through the online store at the MetaFacts website –

News flash: even more recent updates to this information are available to subscribers to the full Technology User Profile service, the TUP Overview Report, and other TUP Profile Reports.

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry topics. These Profile Reports are in a series on specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption and use in American households and businesses. Interested technology professionals can sign up at for complimentary TUPdates, periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary marketing resource for Fortune 1000 companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, peripherals, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

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