PC Sales Surge Again - TheStreet

Boosted by strong consumer purchases of laptops, global shipments of personal computers grew by about 14%-15% in the third quarter year over year, according to two prominent research firms.

The precise growth numbers differ slightly, with Gartner estimating shipments grew by 14.1% and IDC at 15.7%. But the takeaway is the same: At long last, the PC industry is seeing a surge in demand.

"Aided by modest but sustained economic recovery in most regions, an aging base, and great features and deals, the PC market finally got the boost everyone's been looking for," said Roger Kay, vice president of client computing at IDC. "Mobility is all the rage, but even desktops seem to have done reasonably well."

IDC said unexpectedly healthy demand in the U.S. and Europe helped boost overall global growth by a full five percentage points from its initial forecast for a 10% gain year over year.

The results mark the second quarter in a row that shipments have seen double-digit growth rates, according to Gartner. That's reflected in robust business outlooks at companies like

Dell

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and

Intel

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, the respective market leaders in PCs and semiconductors. Just yesterday, Intel said it had scored record unit sales of microprocessors in its third quarter.

Meanwhile on the market-share side,

Hewlett-Packard

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is putting heavy pressure on Dell in a bid to grab the top spot for PC shipments.

Gartner estimates Dell has 15.3% of the worldwide computer market, with H-P right behind it at 15.1%.

IDC shows Dell with 17.4% and H-P at 17.1%.

"H-P's performance in unit terms is impressive, and with the focus on consumer sales in the holiday season, it is likely to be a close race between Dell and H-P in the fourth next quarter," said Charles Smulders, vice president of the computing group at Gartner.