IDC Survey Finds Bigger Is Better When It Comes To Desktop Computer Monitors

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., May 20, 1998 — In an era where the trend in technology is squarely geared toward miniaturization and consolidation of components, there is still one area where sheer size remains important, and bigger truly is better! According to the results of a new International Data Corporation survey of 300 nonresidential business sites, businesses are placing increased emphasis on monitor screen size. Among respondents, the likelihood of buying a 17" or 19" monitor will increase from 54 percent in 1997 to 63 percent in 1998. Although the 15" monitor will hold its market share through 1998, this form factor will succumb to the same forces that eventually wiped 14" monitors from the desktop.

IDC has unveiled its recently completed study of MIS managers' PC monitor buying behavior. This study, 1997 Commercial Desktop Survey: Monitor-Buying Behavior (IDC #B15536), focuses on the corporate demand-side aspect of buying a PC monitor. Questions explore the near-term expectation buying behavior of monitors by brand and screen size, and acceptable price premium over smaller monitors. The study also examines the importance of 10 competing business computing features relevant to larger screen size monitors, including: network (LAN) adapters, larger hard drives, PC manageability features, videoconferencing tools, and more.

"We wanted to explore the importance of larger screen size monitors in the corporation relative to other leading PC peripherals competing for the same limited IS budget," said Ed Buckingham, senior research analyst. "What we found was that for those that felt monitor size was important, the level of importance was tremendous, with only network (LAN) adapter beating it out." At sites with 500 employees or more, 48.6 percent of respondents would choose a monitor size of 17" or larger as one of the top-five areas for which they would be willing to pay extra.

Key Findings

The likelihood of buying a 15 inch or smaller monitor is expected to decline overall from 58 percent in 1997 to 44 percent in 1998.

Sony was considered the best available monitor among 26.1 percent of respondents.

PC vendors are doing a poor job of selling a complete branded system (including monitor).

The average cost premium this sample group is willing to spend for a 17" or larger monitor is $337

IDC believes the demand for larger screen size monitors will accelerate as prices for 17" and 19" monitors and competing peripherals decline, and low-cost PCs begin freeing up resources for monitor purchases. Businesses are strapped for cash and are looking for ways to improve productivity with minimal financial impact. Larger screen monitors contribute to increased productivity by providing more information on the screen at any one time, thus reducing the need to search and scroll for content. As time compression continues impacting the corporate environments, productivity gains will be sought out wherever available and a larger screen size monitor is viewed as a better tool for the job.

This study segments the medium- and large-size businesses based on industry type and number of site employees. A breakout of site size occurs at less than and more than 500 employees with no survey respondent sites having less than 100 employees. The breakdown by industry type follows the U.S. government bureau of economic statistics for business classification.

This research is available for purchase by contacting Cheryl Toffel at 508-935-4389 or by e-mail at For additional information on IDC's PC Display and Multimedia Technologies research program — which covers a wide range of technologies, including monitors, PC graphics subsystems, audio and desktop video conferencing, and others — please contact Patrick Gorman at 508-935-4369.

About IDC

Headquartered in Framingham, Mass., International Data Corporation provides IT market research and consulting to more than 3,900 high-technology customers around the world. With a global network of 375 analysts in more than 40 countries, IDC is the industry's most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, products, vendors, and geographies.

IDC/LINK, an IDC subsidiary, researches and analyzes the home computing market, leading-edge technologies in telecommunications and new media, and the convergence of computing and consumer electronics.

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IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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