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Global PC shipments grew 13.8 percent in 2010 —Gartner study

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 93.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010, a 3.1-percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2009, according to preliminary results by research firm Gartner. The figures were below Gartner’s earlier forecast of 4.8 percent growth for the fourth quarter of 2010. “Overall, holiday PC sales were weak in many key regions due to the intensifying competition in consumer spending. Media tablets, such as the iPad, as well as other consumer electronic (CE) devices, such as game consoles, all competed against PCs," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “The bright side of the PC market during the fourth quarter of 2010 was a steady growth in the professional market driven by replacement purchases. For all 2010, the results indicate the PC market recovered from the recession, as it returned to double-digit growth, compared to low single-digit growth in 2009. However, the PC market will face challenges going forward with more intensified competition among consumer spending." HP maintained the No. 1 position in worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2010, but its shipment growth was below the worldwide average. The preliminary results showed that HP’s professional business had solid growth, but it was offset by a weak consumer PC business in the US. However, HP did well in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) professional and consumer markets. Asia Pacific continued to be a challenging region for HP. Acer faced challenges in the fourth quarter of 2010 due to a slowdown in the overall consumer mobile PC market. The company was impacted by a weakening mini-notebook segment. Due to a lower presence in the professional PC market, Acer could not benefit from the professional PC refresh demand. Dell benefitted from professional PC refreshes across key regions. Dell’s shipment growth was better than regional averages across most regions. Dell’s weaker presence in the consumer segment meant the company was not affected as much as some other vendors due to disappointing holiday sales. Lenovo marked the strongest year-on-year growth among the top 5 vendors. Lenovo’s strength was derived from the replacement purchases in the professional PC market, as well as its on-going efforts of getting into the consumer market. In Asia Pacific, PC shipments reached 27.9 million units, a 4.1 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2009. Fourth quarter PC shipments were primarily affected by the decrease of shipments into the consumer market. Consumer buying has become more discretionary with buyers both adopting a wait and see attitude due to the distraction of media tablets and cautious due to lack of confidence on the recovery of the world economies. For the year, worldwide PC shipments totaled 350.9 million units in 2010, a 13.8 percent increase from 2009. This growth rate was an improvement from 2009 when PC shipments increased 5.5 percent. Among top 5 PC vendors, Lenovo’s shipment growth well exceeded the worldwide average. Lenovo’s growth was driven by strong professional growth as well as expansion into consumer space outside of China. —