FRAMINGHAM, MA – Worldwide PC shipments grew by 15.5% in the third quarter, according to IDC.

Most regions continued to grow close to the pace of recent quarters, but EMEA saw a significant increase in portable PC demand, IDC says. Across regions, strong consumer and small and medium business demand was supported by back-to-school promotions and competition for retail and SMB channels. A strong Euro and rising investment throughout EMEA helped accelerate the trend, pushing global growth to rates not seen since the end of 2005, the firm notes.

The U.S. market came in close to expectations with desktop volume declining gradually, while portables growth remained strong but below last quarter's accelerated pace, IDC reports.

Dell remained the top vendor and improved from last quarter, although total volume was down from a year ago. HP saw solid growth of near 17%, although this was down from the prior two quarters.

HP and Acer led the market, each with a significant increase in portable PC growth, the firm says. Desktop volumes increased incrementally.

Central and Eastern Europe also saw strong portable demand, along with a growing consumer market. In Japan, shipment growth remained below zero, but improved from prior quarters. HP continued to make gains riding strong consumer portable growth, while Toshiba's volume declined with a focus on profitability and the slower-growing commercial segment.

Most other vendors saw relatively flat growth comparable to the market, says IDC. NEC remained the market leader, and although volume was flat from a year ago, growth recovered from a soft second quarter.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) saw another solid quarter with the biggest markets all coming in slightly ahead of expectations. Lenovo remained the clear leader, although HP and Acer continued to gain ground. Portables remained a key driver with regional growth rising to nearly 60% year-over-year.

HP had a second consecutive quarter of better than 30% year-over-year growth with solid gains domestically and internationally, according to IDC. Share improved by roughly 2.5% from a year ago in both the U.S. and international markets.

Dell improved growth significantly in EMEA and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) with less dramatic improvements in the U.S. and Japan. The results put growth back in positive territory and boosted quarterly volume above 10 million for the second time. The company continues its reorganization, focusing on more profitable business in the commercial market.

Lenovo sustained growth of nearly 23% for a second consecutive quarter, reports IDC. Growth spikes in the second quarter in EMEA and Latin America subsided during the third quarter, while stronger growth in the U.S., Asia/Pacific and Japan picked up. Overall the company saw solid and fairly steady growth across regions.

Acer continued its rapid gains, boosting worldwide growth to near 60% with strong gains in its core markets in EMEA and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan). The company also continued its rapid expansion in the U.S. with growth of 100% or more for a third consecutive quarter. Despite the elevated growth, volume in the U.S. was down sequentially and roughly even with the first quarter.

Toshiba saw growth accelerate in EMEA and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), while growth in the U.S. slowed from 47% in the second quarter. Worldwide volume increased by 17% year-over-year, down from over 20% in the second quarter, but stronger than first quarter performance.

Gateway boosted international shipments nearly 8% following several quarters of declining growth. However, the company fell to fifth in the U.S., as volume dropped by 14% from a year ago, nearly twice the pace of prior quarters, says IDC.

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