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Bureau of Stats uncovers desktop decline

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At some point, it seems, we’ll know exactly how many hard-core gamers there are in Australia. That’s because they’ll be the only people still running desktop computers at home.

In research released yesterday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that homes with laptops now outnumber homes with desktops. In just three years, the proportion of homes with laptops has rocketed from 38 percent of households to 61 percent. In the same period, desktop penetration dropped from 60 percent to 55 percent.

The research is actually part of the Bureau’s ongoing environmental research, looking at energy use. Its Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation publication also documents increasing uptake of front-loading washing machines and home insulation.

It’s worth noting that two of the items highlighted by the Bureau – laptop computers and home insulation – were the targets of government programs after the 2007 global financial crisis.

More than half a million laptops – equivalent to more than 6 percent of households – have been delivered to schoolchildren in the four-year “laptops in schools” program. Meanwhile, the federal government’s home insulation scheme, discontinued because of poor safety practices among installers, punted pink batts into more than a million roofs.

Solar technology, until recently very generously funded by both national and state governments, has also bloomed. More than 11 percent of households now have solar panels installed, the ABS found, compared to 7.6 percent in 2008 and 4.7 percent in 2002. Queensland (13.2 percent of homes), Western Australia (23.3 percent) and the Northern Territory (44.7 percent) are the country’s leaders in solar energy use. ®

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