Worldwide PC shipments totalled 84.3 million units in the first quarter of 2010, a 27.4% increase from the first quarter of 2009, according to preliminary results by Gartner. These first quarter results have exceeded Gartner's earlier market outlook, whcih expected shipments to grow 22%.

"The stronger-than-expected growth was led by a robust recovery in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC market, which grew 24.8% in the first quarter of 2010," says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "All other regions recorded double-digit growth rates, although the US and Latin America were slightly lower than what we had expected.
"These first quarter results indicate that the professional PC market is gradually picking up, driven by PC replacements in mature markets," she adds. "With a relatively positive macroeconomic outlook, business demand was more forthcoming. Major PC replacement demand driven by Windows 7 will become more apparent in the second half of 2010 and the beginning of 2011."
HP continued to be the leader in worldwide PC shipments, but its growth was below the worldwide average in the first quarter of 2010. HP faced continued pressure from its Asian rivals that are gaining share. However, HP's strength could be apparent as the professional market rebounds.
Acer had strong shipment growth across all regions. Acer's business model allows it to meet price points that other vendors find difficult to match. Dell achieved year-on-year growth above 20% for the first time in two years. Dell's growth was attributed to strong international sales.
Lenovo's PC shipments increased 59.2% in the first quarter of 2010. Lenovo's commitment to expand into the consumer segment seems to have brought positive results, although its high dependence on China's market remained unchanged. Asus joined the worldwide top five ranking for the first time, sharing the position with Toshiba. Asus had PC shipments increase 114.8% in the first quarter. The company quickly increased market share with its mini-notebook launch in 2008, but it has also successfully expanded into the traditional mobile PC market.
In the US, PC shipments totalled 17.4 million units in the first quarter of 2010, a 20.2% increase from the first quarter of 2009. The US market has registered two consecutive quarters of double-digit shipment growth.
In the first quarter of 2010, PC shipments in EMEA totalled 27.1 million units, a 24.8 per cent increase from the first quarter last year.
“The EMEA PC market exhibited double-digit growth in the first quarter of 2010 and saw the biggest shipment volume on record for the first quarter of a year, which indicates an earlier-than-expected return to solid growth in this market,” says Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner. “However, we need to recognise that this is growth from a low base, as the first quarter of 2009 saw the market's worst decline since 2001. Nevertheless, 2010 will undoubtedly offer vendors more opportunities than 2009 did.”
Western Europe, the markets of the UK, France and Germany all performed strongly. There were also signs of recovery in Central and Eastern Europe, with the Russian market showing an earlier-than-expected revival, despite the continued poor economic environment. The combined Middle East and Africa region also performed better than expected.
The encouraging performance of the EMEA PC market was fostered by very strong demand from the consumer sector, largely for mobile PCs. Mini-notebook PCs retained a significant share of mobile PC shipments.
“The professional PC market has begun to show some improvement, driven mainly by small businesses. The future remains positive in this segment as organisations start to replace older PCs and migrate to Windows 7,” says Atwal.
Acer gained the top position in 2009 and retained its lead in the first quarter of 2010, with a 21.3% market share. “Acer had an excellent quarter as a result of very strong demand for mobile PCs and improved desk-based PC growth,” says Atwal.
Asus moved ahead of Toshiba, nearly doubling its market share from the first quarter of 2009 as a result of strong shipments of mini-notebooks. Vendors outside the top five continued to drive the market's growth, with Sony, Lenovo and Apple all posting increases above the market average.