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Global PC Market Grew 13.4% in 2007: Gartner

Worldwide PC shipments rose 13.4 percent to 271.2 million units in 2007, according to preliminary results by IT consultancy Gartner.

The group also found that Europe, the Middle East and Africa collectively led the way -- ahead of Asia, itself a booming market. During fourth quarter alone, global PC shipments rose 13.1 percent over the same period in 2006, Gartner said.

It was boom times for a number of the top-tier vendors -- but not all. In 2006, Hewlett-Packard finished nearly in a tie with Dell for the top spot, with 38 million units sold and 15.9 percent of the market each.

But last year, HP opened a wide lead as Dell hit the skids. During the year, HP sold 49.4 million versus Dell's 38.7 million. The performance gave HP command of 18.2 percent of the market, compared with Dell's 14.3 percent.

That translates to 30 percent year-over-year growth for HP, while Dell was up a mere 1 percent.

"Robust consumer and mobile PC sales across all regions were two main drivers of HP's overall growth," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group, said in a statement. "The company experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors in fourth quarter of 2007, as its shipments increased 23.3 percent in the quarter."

While Dell's overall yearly sales showed minimal growth, the company's reorganization and channel changes -- adding a reseller channel and selling through Best Buy -- started to bear fruit during fourth quarter.

Gartner reported that its fourth-quarter sales rose 17 percent over from the same period in 2006.

Acer came in at a solid third place, with 24.2 million units sold -- up 32.9 percent over last year. As a result, the company ended 2007 commanding 8.9 percent of the market.

In 2007, Acer acquired Packard Bell and Gateway, helping solidify its position.

Rounding out the top five are Lenovo and Toshiba. Lenovo, at number four, saw sales grow 20.9 percent growth over 2006, with 20.1 million units sold for 7.4 percent of the market.

Fifth-place Toshiba, which sells only laptops, sold 10.9 million units. It was up 18.9 percent over the prior year and held 4 percent of the market, Gartner said.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region continued to represent the largest PC market in 2007, with Asia/Pacific becoming the second-largest PC market.

Gartner found PC sales in EMEA reached 92 million units in 2007, a 14.7 percent increase from 2006.

In the Asia/Pacific region, PC shipments totaled 70.7 million units in 2007 -- a 18.7 percent increase from 2006, with particular strength in India and Vietnam.

Latin America saw PC shipments reach 24 million units in 2007, an 8.9 percent increase from 2006. In the U.S., PC sales grew 5.3 percent, with shipments reaching 64.2 million units.