The U.S. PC market grew by 24% last quarter

The recession definitely looks to be over, as far as the PC market is concerned. IDC has published some preliminary numbers for the fourth quarter of last year, and it says the worldwide PC shipments grew by 15.2% compared to the same time period in 2008. Looking at the U.S. specifically, PC shipments went up by an even more impressive 24%.

That makes two quarters of growth in a row after a tumultuous beginning to the year. (The same market research firm recorded 2.3% global year-over-year growth in the third quarter.) In fact, PC shipments were so strong over the second half of the year that, overall, PC vendors saw an increase in 2009—IDC quotes a 2.31% rise from 287.6 million units shipped in 2008 to 294.2 million in 2009.

Not all PC vendors enjoyed equal success, of course. Here's the scoreboard for 2009 based on IDC' preliminary worldwide data:

Vendor '08 to '09 unit growth 2008 market share 2009 market share
HP 10.4% 18.9% 20.3%
Dell -9.4% 14.7% 13.1%
Acer 22.3% 10.9% 13.0%
Lenovo 13.8% 7.6% 8.5%
Toshiba 15.7% 4.8% 5.4%

And here's how things looked stateside, specifically, for all of 2009:

Vendor '08 to '09 unit growth 2008 market share 2009 market share
HP 15.8% 24.7% 26.9%
Dell -11.3% 29.4% 24.5%
Acer 30.7% 9.3% 11.4%
Apple 8.2% 7.9% 8.0%
Toshiba 42.0% 5.8% 7.7%

As you can see, Dell lost ground to HP both at home and abroad, ending the year with negative growth and a shrunken of the market. IDC's press release includes a couple of tables with comparative numbers for the fourth quarter, but there, too, Dell fell behind on the market share ladder and saw less growth than its competitors (although its shipments didn't fall in Q4, rising instead by around 5% both in the U.S. and worldwide).

Acer, meanwhile, surpassed Dell internationally in the third quarter of last year, and it retained the global number-two position in Q4. Dell still managed to ship slightly more PCs in 2009 as a whole, though.

Dell's losses contrast interestingly with the performance of Apple, whose boutique systems seem at odds with recession-induced belt tightening. While Apple didn't do quite as well as HP, Acer, or Toshiba across 2009, it nevertheless enjoyed growth and a small market share jump. Apple's U.S. shipments rose by an impressive 31% in the holiday quarter, as well.

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