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PC Market Continues To Accelerate thanks to EMEA, 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.

cross 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 appeal of Portable PCs in all regions continues to propel the PC market at a remarkable pace and sets the stage for a very strong fourth quarter," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

"Falling costs, aggressive vendor competition, and rising commercial spending in all regions, along with relatively low penetration and rising consumer income in emerging markets, will sustain high growth over the next couple years."

"There is some risk that component supplies – particularly for batteries and displays – could limit volume or raise prices," added Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice president Clients and Displays.

"However, suppliers are working to increase production and PC vendors may be able to adapt their configuration lineup to maximize volume. If components are in short supply, smaller vendors are likely to have a harder time adapting."

Regional Outlook

- The United States market came in close to expectations with Desktop volume declining gradually while Portables growth remained strong but below last quarter's accelerated pace. 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.

- EMEA saw strong back-to-school and SMB growth as the top vendors all boosted their Portable shipments substantially. HP and Acer led the market, each with a significant increase in Portable PC growth. Desktop volumes increased incrementally, similar to last quarter. 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. 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 on year.

Vendor Highlights

- HP had a second consecutive quarter of better than 30% year-on-year growth with solid gains domestically and internationally. Share improved by roughly 2.5% from a year ago in both the United States and international markets. The company continues to leverage its channel strengths and aggressively pursue the Portables market – successfully capturing a substantial share of this high-growth segment.

- Dell improved growth significantly in EMEA and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) with less dramatic improvements in the United States 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 while still expanding its retail operations.

- Lenovo had another solid quarter, sustaining growth of nearly 23% for a second consecutive quarter. Growth spikes during the second quarter in EMEA and Latin America subsided during the third quarter, while stronger growth in the United States, 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 United States with growth of 100% or more for a third consecutive quarter. Despite the elevated growth, volume in the United States was down from Q2 and roughly even with the first quarter – suggesting Acer's U.S. expansion may face more pressure from competitors as volume grows.

- Toshiba saw growth accelerate in EMEA and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) while growth in the United States slowed from 47% in the second quarter. Worldwide volume increased by 17% year-on-year, down from over 20% in Q2, 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 United States as volume dropped by 14% from a year ago, nearly twice the pace of prior quarters.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.