Gartner Says PC Sales Soar In Q1

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Analyst firm Gartner on Wednesday said PC vendors shipped a total of 84.3 million units worldwide in the first quarter of 2010, which is a 27.4 percent increase compared to the 66.2 million units sold in the first quarter of 2009.

That 27.4 percent growth rate exceeded even the previous optimistic expectations for a 22 percent growth, according to Gartner.

PC shipment growth in the U.S. was slightly lower, about 20.2 percent year-over-year, Gartner said.

A couple of factors are contributing to the strong rebound of the PC market from the doldrums caused by last year's recession.

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Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, wrote in Wednesday's report that mature markets are starting to purchase new PCs to replace existing devices. In addition, strong PC replacement demand will be driven by the adoption of Windows 7 in the second half of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, Kitagawa wrote.

Worldwide, Hewlett-Packard is still the largest PC vendor with shipments of 15.3 million units in the first quarter of 2010. However, of the top six vendors, HP had the slowest growth. Even so, Gartner said, HP could grow faster than its rivals this year as the professional PC market expands.

Acer was number two, with shipments totaling 12 million units, up 54.3 percent thanks to its ability to meet price points its competitors try to avoid, Gartner said.

Dell came in at number three with shipments totaling 10.2 million units worldwide, followed by Lenovo with 7 million units, Asus with 4.65 million units, and Toshiba with 4.62 million units. Asus, thanks to its strength in the netbook PC category, stood out among the top vendors with a growth rate of 114.8 percent, Gartner said.

In the U.S. market, HP was the top vendor with 4.4 million units, followed by Dell with 4.1 million units. However, HP's U.S. shipments grew a mere 7.1 percent, just a bit slower than the 7.2-percent growth experienced by Dell.

Both Acer, which shipped 2.3 million units in the U.S., and Toshiba, which shipped 1.5 million units, had growth rates of between 50 percent and 51 percent. Meanwhile, Apple had a good year, selling 34 percent more PCs in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year, with shipments this year hitting 1.4 million units.