Consumer PC Sales Up; Usage Down

More Americans own a home PC than ever before, but that doesn't mean they're actually using it, notes the latest Pathfinder Study from Arbitron NewMedia. According to the study, home penetration of PCs has nearly doubled from 29% in 1995 to 54% in 1999. But the percentage of people with PC access who actually use it has dropped from 90% to 53%. And while 70% of PC owners subscribe to Internet services at home -- up from 16% in 1995 -- only two-thirds of subscribers use the Web. The PC ownership increase mostly comes from first-time purchasers. Over the last two years, the largest gains have been among low- to middle-income households, and households with children. Apparently, many people are too technology-weary from their jobs to interact with PCs at home, says Roberta McConochie, Arbitron NewMedia director of research. "To achieve sustained growth in home computer sales, manufacturers will have to design information appliances with more obvious, easy-access user benefits in mind."

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