Hot demand in Asian markets helped first-quarter PC shipments around the world jump 22.7 percent over the same period last year, the highest annual surge recorded by iSuppli since it began tracking the market in 2003.
The industry shipped 81.5 million PCs during the quarter, compared with 66.5 million in the prior year's quarter. Releasing the numbers on Friday, iSuppli pegged the surge in growth on strong sales as well as weak conditions at the outset of 2009.
"Early 2009 represented one of the weakest periods in the history of the PC market, as consumer and corporate demand plunged due to the economic downturn," Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli, said in a statement. "With economic conditions improving, PC sales rebounded in early 2010."
But higher demand across Asia also fueled growth, particularly for Asian PC vendors Asus, Samsung, Lenovo, and Acer. Among the top 10 OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) throughout the world, Asus enjoyed the biggest surge in growth with its shipments rising 136.2 percent. Samsung saw an 83.9 percent rise in its PC shipments, while Lenovo grabbed a 58.5 percent increase.
Acer's growth rate of 47.1 percent won it a 13.3 percent slice of the market and inched it a few steps closer to top player Hewlett-Packard in market share. Acer continued to be the beneficiary of strong demand for notebooks, which accounted for almost 80 percent of its PC shipments, according to iSuppli. Computer shipments for stalwarts HP and Dell also rose but their growth trailed that of the overall market.
"The rise of Asian OEMs at the expense of longtime U.S. leaders like Hewlett-Packard and Dell represents a historic shift in the PC market," Wilkins said. "The rise of the Chinese consumer economy along with Asia's increasing dominance in electronics manufacturing is spurring a fundamental shift in regional balance of power in the PC market."
Though its market share is still small, Apple's computer shipments increased by 32.4 percent from a year ago, a factor that iSuppli believes is a side effect of the huge popularity of the iPhone and iPad. HP saw 22.2 percent growth over last year, while Dell had a rise of 21.8 percent.
While notebook shipments led the PC surge with gains of 26.5 percent for the quarter, the desktop continued to battle to stay alive. Desktop shipments rose only 1 percent in the first quarter, but that did mark their first quarterly gain since the second quarter of 2008.
Looking ahead, iSuppli expects PC shipments to increase by 17 percent this year, with higher demand for notebooks but flat growth for desktops.