Worldwide personal computer shipments totaled 84.3 million units in the first quarter of 2010, a 27.4 percent increase from the first quarter of 2009, according to a preliminary report by Gartner, Inc.

The numbers exceeded Gartner's earlier market outlook which had predicted growth of 22 percent.

Gartner says the stronger-than-expected growth was led by a robust recovery in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC market along with a pickup in the professional PC market driven by PC replacements in mature markets.

HP continued to be the leader in worldwide PC shipments with 15.3 million units sold, up 19.9% from the same quarter a year old. Despite the solid growth, HP actually lost market share to its major Asian rivals, Acer, Lenovo and Asus. Sales at Acer, Lenovo and Asus in the first quarter were up 54.3%, 59.2% and 114.8% respectively over the same period a year earlier.

Acer was the number two seller of personal computers with 12 million units sold in the first quarter of 2010. Rounding out the top five were Dell (10.2 million units), Lenovo (7 million), Asus (4.6 million), and Toshiba (4.6 million).

The top five vendors accounted for 63.8% of computer sales in the first quarter up from 58.8% a year earlier.

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