PC shipments were stronger than expected in the second quarter, propped up by consumer spending and lower prices, according to IDC.
The research firm said strong interest in portable computers, including netbooks and laptops, helped mitigate the effects of the recession, though worldwide PC shipments still fell by 3.1 percent from the same quarter a year earlier, to 66 million units. IDC had originally projected a drop of 6.3 percent.
It was the second straight quarter that shipments declined less than had been forecast.
The decline resulted largely from continued slow spending by businesses, IDC said. Frozen IT budgets have restricted purchases of new equipment as companies remain focused on preserving cash. "As a result, the segment has not been as motivated by falling prices and new portable designs as the consumer segment," IDC said.
China was a bright spot, and Asia-Pacific as a whole (excluding Japan) returned to growth after several quarters of decline. Shipments in all other parts of the world contracted, with the US market slipping 3 percent.
IDC's numbers came a day after Intel and Dell both said that the PC market was showing signs of recovery. Intel reported a strong second quarter, driven mainly by consumer spending on chips. Michael Dell said that the PC industry had bottomed out and was showing signs of recovery. However, both cautioned that enterprise spending was weak and said it may pick up next year when companies look to upgrade to newer hardware and software.
Hit hardest by the slowdown in enterprise spending, Dell was the only major vendor whose worldwide shipments fell year-over-year.
HP was the top PC vendor worldwide, shipping 13.1 million units, a 3.6 percent increase from last year, giving it almost 20 percent of the market. Dell came second with 9.1 million units, a 17.1 percent decline that left it with 13.7 percent market share.
Acer came in a close third, IDC said. Its shipments increased 23.7 percent to give it 12.7 percent of the market. Lenovo's shipments increased a modest 2.9 percent for fourth place, while Toshiba's shipments increased 10.6 percent to put it in the fifth spot.