HELSINKI (Reuters) - The number of personal computers in use around the world has surpassed 1 billion, with strong growth in emerging markets set to double the number of PCs by early 2014, research firm Gartner said on Monday.
Mature markets accounted for 58 percent of the first billion installed PCs, but would only account for about 30 percent of the next billion, Gartner said.
"Rapid penetration in emerging markets is being driven by the explosive expansion of broadband and wireless connectivity, the continuing fall in PC average selling prices, and the general realization that PCs are an indispensable tool for advancement," George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, said.
Gartner expects more than 180 million computers will be replaced this year, with some sold to second owners through various channels, some broken up and recycled, but many simply dumped directly into landfill.
"We estimate ... some 35 million PCs will be dumped into landfill with little or no regard for their toxic content," said Gartner analyst Meike Escherich.
"It will become an even more pressing issue, especially in emerging markets, as the number of retired PCs grows with the continuing expansion of the PC installed base," she said.
Reporting by Tarmo Virki; editing by Sue Thomas