Home computer ownership

The core PC gaming audience often sees itself as comparable to, or perhaps even larger than, the console gaming market. This audience also disproportionately builds its own PCs to exert greater control over the individual components in their gaming rig. We wondered: as a proxy measurement for the core PC gaming market, how many people actually build their own PCs?

A 2013 survey conducted by the US Census Bureau found that 78.5% of homes have a desktop or laptop computer. In a recent RapidPoll, we asked 500 US people to describe their home computer.

Similar to the US Census survey data, 23% of RapidPolls respondents did not have a desktop or laptop computer in their home. About 19% owned a Mac desktop or laptop computer, with the remaining 58% owning a PC. Of PC owners, 44% purchased their computer at a retail store and 28% ordered it online. The do-it-yourself crowd was relatively small, with only 14% of all personal computers being built.

There were a couple of interesting trends seen in how people acquired their personal computers. The likelihood that it was purchased at a retail store increased with age&emdash;roughly half of PCs owned by people 45 and over were purchased at a retail store, compared to only 37% of PCs owned by people under 45 that were purchased at a retail store.

Do-it-yourself behavior was seen much more heavily among younger PC owners. Among PC owners under age 35, one out of every four computers was built by its owner. This drops considerably to just 8% of PCs owned by people 35 and over were built by their owners (and a nearly non-existent 2% among PC owners 55 and over).

Some other interesting notes:

  • Gender differences are also evident. Females were more likely to either not own a home computer or to own a Mac desktop or laptop computer than males. Males were much more likely to have ordered their PC online or built it themselves.
  • As expected, those with lower incomes (less than $75,000 annually) were more likely to not have a computer at home than those with higher incomes ($75,000 annually or greater). Lower incomes also tended to buy their PC at a retail store while higher incomes were more inclined to order online.