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Global PC Shipments Up 12 Percent in 2Q

Worldwide shipments of personal computers rose strongly in the second quarter due to growing demand in Asia and unexpected strength in the U.S., two research companies reported Wednesday.

IDC estimated that 58.8 million PCs were shipped in the April-to-June period, up 12.5 percent from the same quarter last year. Gartner Inc., which uses a somewhat different methodology, counted 61.1 million units, for a growth rate of 11.7 percent.

Eastern Asia, excluding Japan, was the strongest market, with sales up more than 20 percent. In laptops, growth was about 50 percent, according to IDC.

Global shipments picked up in the first quarter, with IDC putting growth at 10.9 percent after nearly a year of growth in the single-digit range.

In the U.S., second-quarter shipments rose 7.2 percent according to IDC and 5.9 percent according to Gartner, helped by aggressive competition and demand for laptops. Desktop shipments continued to decline.

The introduction over the winter of Windows Vista, Microsoft Corp.'s latest operating system, had minimal effect on demand, Gartner said.

Hewlett-Packard Co. kept its position as the world's largest maker of PCs and extended its lead over Dell Inc., which was the largest until late last year. IDC put HP's worldwide market share at 19.3 percent, while Gartner had it at 18.2 percent, while the firms put Dell at 15 percent to 16.1 percent respectively.

Dell remained the largest maker of PCs for the U.S. market, with a 28.4-29.9 percent market share, but the number of units sold declined 11 percent, while HP's rose 26 percent.

"Dell had difficulties in its consumer business. Dell made its first major retail shipments to Wal-Mart stores, however volumes were not significant enough to influence its growth performance in the quarter," Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa wrote.

Gateway Inc. was in third place in the U.S., but saw a 7 percent decline in shipments.

The next three largest were Acer, Toshiba and Apple Inc., all with market shares around 5 percent, though the research firms differed on the exact order.

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