PC Sales Rev Up for Rebound, IDC Says

The worldwide PC market appears to be coming back in a big way.

Researcher IDC last week reported that the PC makers sold 24.2% more machines in the first quarter of 2010 than in the same period last year. A year earlier, first quarter PC shipments were 9% less than the previous year.

The specific numbers of PCs sold in the first quarter were not available from IDC at press time.

The strong first-quarter numbers improve on the fourth quarter sales increase of 15.2%, according to IDC figures. At the time, IDC analysts credited the increase to historically low PC prices and an increasing demand for laptops and netbooks.

The increased sales in the last two quarters come after a series of quarterly declines that began in the third quarter of 2008, according to IDC.

"The strong first quarter builds on the fourth quarter rebound and shows rising confidence in the PC supply chain and commercial client base, along with persistent demand from consumers," said Loren Loverde, a vice president at IDC, in a statement. "The commercial gains are a cornerstone of a market rebound that we've been expecting and are now seeing in the data. Despite continued strengthening of commercial demand and solid consumer and emerging market results, year-on-year growth is likely to slow in coming quarters as year-ago comparisons get more difficult."

Loverde, though, said he expects more positive results in the second quarter.

For 2010 overall, IDC is projecting that unit shipments will grow by 15% or better.

First quarter PC shipments from Lenovo Group Ltd. and Acer Inc. grew by 58.3% and 42.5% respectively, the top growth rates. Lenovo recorded the second most shipments worldwide during the quarter and Acer the fourth most.

Each of the other top five vendors also showed a first quarter increase in worldwide PC sales.

The report listed Hewlett-Packard Co. as the top seller of PCs during the period after its shipments grew by 19.9%. Third place Dell Inc.'s PC shipments grew by 21.1% and fifth place Toshiba Corp.'s by 29.4%.

"The U.S. PC market exhibited encouraging signs of recovery in the first quarter," said Andrew Hanson, a research analyst with IDC, in a statement. "While part of this growth is a correction from a dismal 1Q 09, some of it was driven by new PC refresh projects in the commercial markets. This is in addition to ongoing consumer appetite for more mobile devices as price points remain attractive and the multi-device per user environment expands."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld . Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

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