Hewlett-Packard once again led U.S. and worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2010, but it was the performance of a number of Asian OEMs that called for attention.
While HP, Acer and Dell remained the top three market-share holders, Lenovo and Toshiba each posted significant growth, and Asus, for the first time, broke into the top five.
On April 14 research firms Gartner and IDC posted preliminary PC shipment results for the quarter, which surpassed expectations. According to Gartner, shipments totaled 84.3 million units - an increase of 27.4 percent, versus the 22 percent Gartner predicted.
"These first quarter results indicate that the professional PC market is gradually picking up, driven by PC replacements in mature markets," Mikako Kitagawa, a principal analyst with Gartner, said in a statement.
"With relatively positive macro economic 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," Kitagawa continued.
Since Microsoft's Oct. 2009 release of Windows 7, PC manufacturers have been waiting to enjoy a major refresh of older systems, but given the global economy, enterprises were slower to react than first hoped.
Leader HP shipped 15.3 million units worldwide, for a market share of 18.2 percent. Not far behind, with 14.2 percent of the market, was Acer, which shipped 12 million units and showed 54.3 percent year-on-year growth, to HP's 19.9 percent.
A third-place Dell, also in double-digit market share, at 12.1 percent, shipped 10.2 million units and achieved its first 20-percent-plus year-on-year growth in two years. Financial services firm Raymond James, consequently, raised its F1Q10 revenue and non-GAAP EPS estimates for Dell from $14.3 billion and $0.28 to $14.8 billion and $0.29, respectively.
Behind Dell came Lenovo, with shipments of 7 million units and year-on-year growth of 59.2 percent, followed by Asus, with 4.65 million units and - tying Asus for fifth position - Toshiba, with shipments of 4.62 million units and an equal 5.5 percent of the market.
The quarter marked the first time in the top 5 worldwide ranking for Asus, which posted a shipment increase of 114.8 percent, driven by strong netbook sales.
In the U.S., HP topped the board again, with 25 percent of the market and shipments of 4.4 million units. Second place went to Dell, which shipped 4.1 million units, capturing a notable 23.4 percent of the market.
Third-place Acer shipped 2.7 million units in the U.S. and fourth-place Toshiba shipped 1.5 million - representing a 50 percent growth from a year earlier for both Acer and Toshiba.
Apple, with shipments of 1.4 million units, finished fifth in the United States, with 8 percent market share.
While Europe, the Middle East and Africa led the recovery, growing 24.8 percent during the quarter, according to Gartner, the United States and Latin America were "slightly lower than what we had expected," said Kitagawa.
IDC detailed that Japan saw yearly growth of 16.6 percent, partly resulting from poor conditions a year earlier, while Asia/Pacific, excluding Japan, saw 33 percent growth over the year.
"The commercial gains are a cornerstone of the market rebound that we've been expecting and are now seeing in the data," said Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC Worldwide Trackers.
"Despite continued strengthening of commercial demand and solid consumer and emerging market results, year-on-year growth is likely to slow in coming quarters as year-ago comparisons get more difficult. This is part of an expected recovery trend that should include strong second quarter performance and lift growth for the year to 15 percent or higher," Loverde added.