PC Shipments Show Surprise Q1 Growth

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Stamford, Conn. - Worldwide PC shipments made an unexpected jump during the first quarter, according to Gartner's latest research.

First-quarter PC shipments worldwide totaled 89 million units, up 1.9 percent from the 87.3 million shipped during the same period in 2011. Gartner had forecast a 1.2 percent decline for the quarter.

The unexpected increase was due to stronger sales it the EMEA region, despite a slowdown in India and China.

U.S. shipments fell 3.5 percent to 15.5 million for the quarter, down from the 16 million shipped during 2011's first quarter. Gartner had predicted a 6.6 percent decline for the period.

Gartner said the hard-disk-drive shortage created by the massive flooding in Thailand in late 2011 did not impact shipments and sales as much as expected.

"In general, the hard-disk drive (HDD) supply shortage had a limited impact on PC supply during 1Q12. There was a moderate impact on selected markets, such as low-end consumer notebooks and the white-box market in selected regions. Still, low PC demand was able to mask the tight HDD supply overall," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

Overall, consumer PC sales for the quarter were particularly weak. While sales normally decline during the first quarter, they were steeper than usual, Gartner said, due to the number of other devices, such as tablets, vying for consumer's dollars.

In the United States, Hewlett-Packard maintained its position as top PC shipper. HP increased shipments 6.6 percent to 4.5 million, giving the company 29 percent of the market. Second-place Dell saw shipments shrink 3.6 percent to 3.4 million. Apple jumped into third place, shipping 1.6 million units, outpacing fourth-place Acer and fifth-place Toshiba. These two companies saw their shipments fall 25.9 and 19.2 percent, respectively.


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