European PC owners are choosing to upgrade their systems rather than buy new ones, according to research from IDC.
"It is difficult to target consumers because as a manufacturer you have to have a product offering that hits particular sectors. Whether it's new or a replacement is not usually important," said Scott Dodds, managing director of PC manufacturer Acer.
The survey of adults in 1,000 households throughout major European countries showed that 60 per cent of PC owners would not buy a new system in 2002. A significant 43 per cent will not buy a new PC until after 2004, with both groups preferring upgrades.
IDC claims that this is not because of a lack of spending power. Figures revealed that 28 per cent of respondents were more confident for 2002 than 2001, and only 25 per cent were less confident.
"Our consumer business is entirely focused on notebooks and users of these tend to be second, third or fourth time users," said Dodds. "The notebook market is the fastest growing in the home market and it will catch up with desktops in volume eventually."
In contrast to the PC market, the research shows that handheld devices are still in their infancy and are more likely to be bought by businesses for personal information management applications rather than remote access.
John Newlyn, business development manager at back-office integration software maker Attachmate, believes that there is a great deal of growth potential in the remote access handheld device market.
"There are now only pockets of areas that use bespoke applications running almost as client server applications," he said.
He warned vendors to ensure that application developments for handhelds have long life and support cycles. "There is a lot to do and corporates need to have the confidence that what they are buying into does not become obsolete," he explained.
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