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PC shipments turn positive in third quarter

Helped by back-to-school sales, worldwide PC shipments rose 2.3 percent in the third quarter after three quarters of declines, says IDC. Double-digit growth seen through 2013.

PC shipments are the latest tech sector showing signs of life.

For the third quarter, worldwide computer shipments rose 2.3 percent from the same quarter a year ago, their first gain after three consecutive quarters of declines, according to IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report released on Thursday.

Hot back-to-school demand boosted overall shipments. Portable PCs enjoyed a 33.5 increase from a year ago, but desktops continued their descent reflecting the consumer drive to mobile computers.

The decline in commercial PCs also began to slow in the third quarter, indicating to IDC that IT spending should gradually revive over the next few quarters, with a solid rebound expected in the second half of 2010.

Thanks to the latest results, PC shipments are expected to show gains of 1.3 percent for 2009, rising to 10.3 percent next year. The total number of shipments is likely to hit 291.4 million units this year and 321.4 million next year, up from 287.6 million in 2008.


Much of the growth will come from emerging regions, which now account for half of the market. Portables should enjoy an 18.1 percent gain in shipments in 2010, but desktop shipments are likely to be flat. Netbooks will grow, but at a slower pace, due to the appeal of new ultra-thin portables. Overall, IDC forecasts double-digit gains in PC shipments each year to 2013, when the number of units could reach as high as 444.4 million.

"Once again, the PC market shows its resiliency," said Loren Loverde, program director of IDC Worldwide Trackers, in a statement. "The speed of market stabilization and growth in key segments reflect the essential role of personal computing today. Technology evolution and falling prices remain a compelling combination. As commercial spending recovers in 2010, we expect to see robust growth over the next several years."