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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 12, 2011 at 2:29 PM

PC sales up 3 percent, Asia perks up

About 92 million PCs were sold in the third quarter, up 3.2 percent over the same period last year but less than the 5 percent gain that was expected, according to research firm Gartner.

IDC simultaneously released a report pegging quarterly PC sales at 3.6 percent, down from its forecast of 4.5 percent.

Both firms said PC sales growth picked up in Asia, offsetting slower growth in the Americas and Europe.

Back-to-school sales in developed countries were weak, reflecting the softer market for overall consumer PCs. A big factor is that consumer spending is being diverted to smartphones and devices such as the iPad, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in the release.

HP remained the largest seller and at rates faster than the industry average, even as it floated the idea of jettisoning its PC business. HP’s share of the global market grew to 17.7 percent according to Gartner and 18.1 percent according to IDC.

Lenovo took second place for the first time, helped by a partnership with Japan’s NEC, while Dell fell to third as its sales fell around 1.5 percent during the quarter.

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In the U.S., PC sales grew 1.1 percent, showing the first year-over-year growth in three quarters, according to Gartner stats. IDC said U.S. sales grew 0.1 percent.

“The main contributor to the weak consumer PC market in the U.S. was intensified competition for consumers’ money,” Kitagawa said in the release. “Media tablets and smartphones took center stage in the U.S. retail sector, and the expectation is for continuing demand for these devices throughout the holiday season.”

Dell and Acer were particularly hard-hit, with sales falling 7.2 percent and 25.4 percent, respectively, according to Gartner.

Among the top five PC companies in the U.S., Apple fared the best, posting 21.5 percent growth, driven by its ultrathin MacBook Air, Gartner said. It didn’t provide a global market share number for Apple.

IDC said Apple grew 8.3 percent in the U.S., claiming 11.3 percent of the U.S. market during the quarter. Analyst Jay Chou said Apple grew 20.5 percent globally during the quarter.

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