PC shipments hit record growth in Q1

Acer's laptop shipments help it close the gap on HP, iSuppli says

Echoing earlier research, a report from iSuppli shows that worldwide PC shipments experienced record growth in the first quarter of this year.

Driven by strong sales in Asian markets, the global PC market grew by a whopping 22.7% in the first quarter, marking the highest year-over-year growth in any quarter ever recorded by iSuppli Corp., a research company. Shipments in the first quarter totaled 81.5 million units. That's up from 66.5 million during the same period in 2009, iSuppli said Friday.

"The first three months of 2010 delivered the highest quarterly PC shipment growth on a year-over-year basis since iSuppli began tracking the market in 2003," said Matthew Wilkins, a principal analyst at iSuppli, in a statement. "This record growth resulted from strong sales in the first quarter of 2010 combined with weak conditions during the first three months of 2009."

Early 2009 represented one of the weakest periods in the history of the PC market, as consumer and corporate demand plunged due to the economic downturn, Wilkins said.

"With economic conditions improving, PC sales rebounded in early 2010," he added.

Today's iSuppli report closely mirrors a report on PC sales issued by analyst firm IDC this past April.

IDC reported that PC makers sold 24.2% more machines in the first quarter of 2010 than in the same period last year. The firm noted in April that the strong first-quarter results build on a strong rebound that started in the fourth quarter of 2009.

One of the companies reaping the benefits of this first-quarter success is Acer, which is No. 2 in the market, just behind industry powerhouse Hewlett-Packard.

According to iSuppli, Acer saw its first-quarter 2010 shipments rise by 47.1% on a year-over-year basis. The research firm also noted that this surge gave Acer a 13.3% share of the global market, up from 11.1% a year earlier. The Taiwan-based company's strong results allowed it to close its market share gap with market leader HP to just 6.3 percentage points in the first quarter. That's down from an 8.5-percentage-point gap in the first quarter last year.

"While Hewlett-Packard retained its position at the top of the PC pile, Acer is advancing at an impressive rate," Wilkins said. "Acer continues to benefit from its focus on notebooks, which represent the fastest-growing segment of the PC market. Notebooks accounted for nearly 80% of Acer's PC shipments in the first quarter."

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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