Use of desktop PC continues to fall

In the consumer market, a lot of households have already got rid of their traditional desktop computer in favour of a laptop or even a tablet. In the business market too, end users are increasingly seen to use hardware other than the time-honoured PC/desktop to perform their duties. In 2017, fewer than half the end user systems encountered by Computer Profile remain desktop PCs. In 2010, this rate still stood at over 70 percent. The gap left by the desktop is taken up the laptop, thin client systems and, from 2013 forward, the tablet. As 2017 got under way, tablets represented around 6 percent of all business end user hardware, with laptops representing approximately 29 percent and thin clients taking up around 18 percent.

Desktops, laptops, thin clients & tablets

The fact that desktop PCs make up less than half of all end user systems being used does not necessarily mean that the desktop has been completely consigned to oblivion by a lot of businesses. Of all business establishments interviewed by Computer Profile (with 50 employees or more), 77 percent report they are still using desktops. However, the trend line for the penetration of desktops in recent years shows a distinct downward slope. Over a seven year period, the proportion of sites that use desktops fell from 96 percent to the current 77 percent. Over this time span, the use of desktop PCs has seen its most marked fall among government and care institutions, with 65 and 58 percent of locations respectively still using desktop PCs. In the world of education and in the manufacturing industry, desktop penetration remains highest, at 89 and 87 percent respectively. Laptops make up 29 percent of all end user systems for business sites with 50 or more employees. However, laptops are now more widespread than desktops. Of all the locations interviewed, 82 percent confirm they are using one or more laptops. For laptop computers too, this is a declining trend. Laptops are least used in the public sector. Here, 78 percent of the locations say they have laptops being used. In the commercial sector, this figure is around 84%.

What we are seeing more frequently are thin clients. Whereas in 2010 around a quarter of the target group reported they were using thin client solutions, this number has gone up to approximately 36 percent of business establishments. For thin clients, our survey shows major differences between the various market segments. The highest adoption rate of thin clients is seen in the care sector, where over three quarters of sites report they are using this type of systems. At 54 percent, the government too shows a relatively high level of penetration. The branches where thin clients are clearly least popular are education, where 16 percent of locations report they are using this type of hardware, and the ICT & Utilities sector that has a penetration rate of 18 percent.
Computer Profile has been charting the (business) use of tablets since 2012. Initially the number of sites using business tablets witnessed a fairly steep climb, which now appears to be past its peak. Around one third of the sites interviewed have business tablets being used. What is striking however is that the public sector is seen to score above average when it comes to tablet adoption. Both among the government, care institutions and the world of education, approximately 40 percent of sites report that the organisation has provided staff with tablets. Tablet penetration is lowest in the transport sector (24 percent) and the manufacturing industry (26 percent).


The market for end user hardware is populated by a comparatively limited number of players. For tablets, the Dutch business market continues to be headed up by Apple’s iPads for now. Around 8 in 10 tablets are built by Apple, with Samsung and Microsoft occupying the number two and three slots. However, compared against 2013, the market share taken up by the two latter vendors has gone up. In 2013, Samsung’s market share stood at around 3 percent, with Microsoft tablets yet to appear on the market at that time.

To a large degree, desktops and laptop systems are built by the same manufacturers, which is why the graph shows the two types of systems totalled for each of the manufacturers involved. Out of the total number of desktops and laptops encountered by Computer Profile, the bulk is made up of HP systems. Around 47% of all desktop/laptops are HP Inc. systems. Coming behind HP, Dell desktops and laptops are the second biggest group, representing a 36 percent share of the installed base. The number three position on the Dutch market is taken up by Lenovo.

Over the last eight years, HP and Dell have barely seen any changes in their share of the installed base. Since 2010, HP’s share has been constantly hovering around the 47-48% mark. Over the same time period, Dell’s share has consistently sat between 34 and 36 percent. To date, Lenovo has managed to push up its share from 2.5 percent in 2010 to 8.5% percent, whilst Fujitsu witnessed the reverse, its installed base share falling by a few percentage points.