Forecasting tech’s future: How high can we go?

Apple and CE in emerging markets
Beginning with the Apple iPod, many consumers grew more willing to purchase new devices even before their existing devices became obsolete. These consumers appear to cherish the new devices for their features, performance, or just aesthetics, while the old device is often sold or given to a friend or family member.

All these factors combined with continued advances in emerging markets make future growth seem unlimited until you begin to think of the world population. While the population does not necessarily equal the total available market (TAM), because many people in developed regions own more than one device, the global population is a figure that begins to raise flags about the future.

A certain percentage of the population will likely be too young to own these devices, a portion of the population has little or no interest in technology, and others are either not interested or cannot afford the cost of the devices or services. There is even a portion of the global population that does not have reliable power for electronic devices.

So, as we approach a third of the global population in annual shipments and two-thirds of the population in installed base, I begin to wonder about the potential of our industry and what the future holds. At some point, one would think that we will hit a saturation point. If so, this saturation will make the latter half of this decade a critical time and one difficult to forecast.

Readers: Are we too optimistic about the future and the potential for the computing segment? If you have any thoughts on the topic, please chime in.

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