Worldwide PC shipments totalled 350.9 million units in 2010 according to preliminary data released this month by Gartner. The numbers include desktop and mobile computers, including mini-notebooks but not media tablet such as the iPad.

Sales were up 13.8% over the 308.3 million units shipped in 2009. Despite the strong increase for the year, sales in the final quarter of the year were 93.5 million, up just 3.1% from the same quarter of 2009 and well below Gartner’s earlier forecast of 4.8 percent growth for the quarter.

“Overall, holiday PC sales were weak in many key regions due to the intensifying competition in consumer spending. Media tablets, such as the iPad, as well as other consumer electronic (CE) devices, such as game consoles, all competed against PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “The bright side of the PC market during the fourth quarter of 2010 was a steady growth in the professional market driven by replacement purchases. For all 2010, the results indicate the PC market recovered from the recession, as it returned to double-digit growth, compared to low single-digit growth in 2009."

HP maintained the No. 1 position in worldwide PC shipments with sales of 62.8 million units up 6.5% from 58.9 million units in 2009. (See chart below). Rounding out the top five were Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba. The top five PC makers accounted for 57.9% of all units sold during the year, virtually the same as the 57.8% share in 2009.

Among the top five PC vendors, Lenovo’s shipment growth well exceeded the worldwide average. Lenovo’s growth was driven by strong professional growth as well as expansion into consumer space outside of China.

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