Gartner is predicting the number of personal computers sold throughout the world will reach 298.9 million units in 2009, up 2.8% from 2008.

This forecast is more optimistic than the research firm's final September forecast, which anticipated a 2 percent decline in shipments for 2009.

"Shipments in the third quarter of 2009 were much stronger than we expected, and that alone virtually guaranteed we would see positive growth this year," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

While computer shipments are now expected to increase in 2009, the market value of PC shipments is still projected to decline. A sharp drop in the average selling price of computers means the market value of global PC shipments is now forecast to total $217 billion in 2009, a 10.7 percent decline from 2008.

In 2010, the research firm predicts PC shipments will reach 336.6 million units, a 12.6 percent increase over 2009. Gartner is now projecting the market value of PC shipments to reach $222.9 billion in 2010, a 2.6 percent increase over 2009.