Enterprise Thin Client Market Shows Some Spark with Shipments to Reach 3.4 Million in 2007, Says IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – SEPTEMBER 17, 2003 – Although enterprise thin clients have had trouble gaining acceptance in the PC-computing mainstream, there's still plenty of reason for optimism. According to new research from IDC, enterprise thin clients – network-based computer devices with no local storage that are used in business environments – will ship 3.4 million units worldwide in 2007, up from just 1.5 million in 2003, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8%.


"Lack of awareness and the pain of transitioning from traditional PC-based environments, both physically and philosophically, have hampered acceptance of enterprise thin clients," said Bob O'Donnell, research director, Device Technology at IDC. "However, the obstacles that have plagued the thin client market are not new and many companies are working to make the process of planning, deploying, configuring, transitioning, and using thin clients much easier. If thin client vendors can increase their percentage of the total PC market by even 1%, that would be a huge win for this lively market.”

The "thin client message" is being trumpeted louder and louder, and will reach significantly more ears over the next five years. Dedicated marketing programs from major vendors, such as HP, consortia-driven collateral, good press, and word of mouth will all combine to increase awareness of enterprise thin clients over the forecast period and beyond. In addition, IT professionals are beginning to understand and appreciate the security, centralized control/management, and return on investment of thin client environments.

Key Findings

Slow but ongoing Web service-type applications are beginning to show promise, although far from the complete Web-based applications that were once predicted to drive this market.

A transition from desktop PCs to notebooks could further impede thin client penetration in the enterprise.

There will be a major shift in regional breakouts as Western Europe pulls even with the United States in shipments at the end of the forecast period.

Windows-based standalone form factors will remain dominant, but there will be a shift toward LCD-based and wireless thin clients running alternative operating systems.

This study, The Rise of Thin Machines: Worldwide Enterprise Thin Client Forecast and Analysis, 2002-2007 (IDC #30016), provides an overview of the worldwide market for enterprise thin clients. It discusses the market size for thin clients as well as major trends that are impacting the market. In addition, the unit shipments, average selling price (ASP), and total value of the enterprise thin-client market by geographical region is given for 2002 and forecast for 2003–2007. The study also includes market splits by operating system type, form factor and sales method for the same five-year period. It concludes with market share of the top enterprise thin-client vendors in the United States, Western Europe, Asia/Pacific and worldwide.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications

industries. We analyze and predict technology trends so that our clients can make strategic, fact-based decisions on IT purchases and business strategy. Over 700 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide local expertise and insights on technology markets. Business executives and IT managers have relied for 40 years on our advice to make decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Additional information can be found at www.idc.com.

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