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Sun shines on PC sales as economic storm abates

The Win 7 effect? Not much

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PC sales in the fourth quarter showed a surprising jump in sales - partly thanks to low prices and partly due to purchases put off in previous quarters.

Gartner warned that although worldwide sales hit 90 million units, a 22.1 per cent increase on the fourth quarter 2008 - but that quarter was a particularly bad one.

Figures from IDC, also out yesterday, showed similar growth - a 15.2 per cent jump in worldwide sales giving a total of 85.8m machines shipped. Gartner's figures for the fourth quarter of 2009 showed a 22.1 per cent increase to just over 90m units.

IDC described US sales, with 24 per cent year-on-year growth, as an explosion. It said vendors had reacted to shocking sales a year ago with lower price points, especially for notebooks and mininotebooks.

Jay Chou, research analyst at IDC, said: "The market has weathered a storm which looks to be behind us. But salvaging decreasing margins will soon become even more pertinent as one considers the long-term effects of holding market share at the cost of profitability."

Both analyst houses put the vendors in the same order too. HP was top with 24.9 per cent growth according to Gartner, and 23.3 per cent according to IDC. In second place was Acer, then Dell which returned to positive territory for the first time in a year.

In fourth place was Lenovo which both IDC and Gartner credited with 42 per cent growth. Toshiba was in fifth place.

The economy meant consumers, who drove most growth, were very price sensitive - netbooks and notebooks pushed the majority of increased sales. Windows 7 had some impact as a marketing tool but did not have an overall impact on machines sold.

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