IDC Survey Finds Thin Clients Are Replacing PCs at Some Companies

FRAMINGHAM, MA – AUGUST 3, 2000 – Thin clients are becoming increasingly popular. According to IDC, shipments of these devices increased a solid 90% in 1999, and in a recent IDC survey, almost 75% of respondents said thin clients are an acceptable alternative for some PC users. In fact, more than 50% of respondents have replaced PCs with thin clients.


IDC's survey indicates the primary reason companies are purchasing thin clients is because of their reliability. The second most important factor in their decision is ease of use, followed by performance.

"End users expect thin clients to be reliable, easy to use, and good performers. In addition, they should allow access to Windows applications, be cost effective, easy to install, and secure," said Bruce Stephen, vice president of IDC's Worldwide Personal Systems research. "A strong message from our data is that vendors of thin clients need to pay attention to reliability."

IDC's survey indicates the reasons companies purchase thin clients vary by company size. Small sites (fewer than 100 employees) employ thin clients to improve their IT management practices and reduce desktop complexity. Midsize companies (100-499 employees) are turning to thin clients because of the centralized control and ease of management they provide. Large companies (500 or more employees) purchase thin clients to lower their total cost of ownership. What is really encouraging for thin client vendors is that approximately 25% of respondents indicated there is no major inhibitor preventing them from purchasing thin clients.

IDC asked respondents what brand came to mind when they heard the term thin clients. Citrix was the number-one response. "This indicates the software side of enterprise thin clients often ranks higher in end users' minds than the hardware side," Stephen said. "It also shows the money and years of development and marketing Citrix has devoted to thin clients have paid off."

On the hardware side, Wyse was the most frequently mentioned vendor. Dell and Compaq received a surprisingly large number of mentions considering they are both relatively new to the thin client market.

"Vendors should strive to distinguish themselves in this market by concentrating on technology, quality, and becoming value leaders," Stephen suggested.

IDC recently surveyed 175 U.S. businesses about their use and planned use of thin clients. The survey's results are published in an IDC special report titled Enterprise Thin Client Survey: Customer Direction and Buying Behavior. The report discusses respondents' plans to purchase thins clients, brand recognition, Windows 2000 as a potential market accelerator, willingness of respondents to purchase Linux-based thin clients, and customers' perceptions of the pros and cons of PCs versus thin clients.

To purchase this report, contact Patrick Steeves at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 6787 or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

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