PC Sales Creep up as Acer Passes Dell

Both Gartner and IDC managed to agree on a few points regarding PC sales: China is pretty much the only country keeping the market in positive territory, and Acer has surpassed Dell to become the number two PC vendor in the world.

That puts Acer ahead of plan. CEO Gianfranco Lanci had earlier predicted the company would pass Dell in the coming quarters.

Global PC shipments in the third quarter of 2009 rose 2.3 percent year-over-year (YoY), according to IDC, while Gartner had numbers up a more modest 0.5 percent. Considering Gartner had been expecting a decline of 5.6 percent in Q3, that modest gain was a welcomed change.

“The consumer market continued to lead unit shipment growth, driven by low priced mobile PCs,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner in a statement. “Ongoing price declines continue to be a major issue in the PC industry. PC vendor performance cannot be determined solely by unit market share gains as related revenues and margin performance are key to surviving in a very competitive market.”

Acer is now firmly in second place worldwide, and third in the U.S. Consumer demand for its low-cost systems plus the back-to-school season helped the company score double-digit growth over every other vendor.

HP still leads

For the quarter, Gartner put HP (NYSE: HPQ) in the lead with 19.9 percent market share and 9.0 percent growth YoY. Acer was second with 15.4 percent share and 23.6 percent growth, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) was third with 12.8 percent share and a 6.7 percent loss.

Lenovo was fourth with 8.5 percent share and 15.8 percent growth. Toshiba rounded out the top five with 5.0 percent market share and 10.8 percent growth. The category of “Other” fell 11.2 percent and since it held 38.3 percent market share, dragged the overall total down to just 0.5 percent growth.

IDC has it fairly close. HP is on top with 20.2 percent of the market and 9.3 percent growth, followed by Acer moving into second place with 14 percent of the market and 25.6 percent growth. Dell falls to third with 12.7 percent of the market and an 8.4 percent contraction, Lenovo has 8.9 percent share and 18.2 percent growth, and Toshiba is fifth with 5.2 percent market share and 6.9 percent growth.

Both firms cited Lenovo’s strong presence in China, the strongest of the markets, as the reason for its high rate of growth. Gartner puts the growth in the Chinese PC market this year at 28.5 percent. Japan was a very weak market, down 15.1 percent according to both firms.

In the U.S., the picture is very different. IDC said HP was on top with 25.5 percent of the market, followed very closely by Dell with 25.0 percent of the market. HP grew 3.2 percent, Dell contracted 13.4 percent. Acer was a distant third with 11.1 percent of the market but 48.3 percent growth.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) earned some bragging rights, moving into fourth place with 9.4 percent of the market and 11.8 percent year over year growth. Gartner had a more modest stat: 8.8 percent market share and 6.8 percent growth.

“The continued strength of both the U.S. and worldwide PC business in the face of difficult economic environments underscores the value that both consumer and corporate buyers place on PCs,” said Bob O’Donnell, vice president of clients and displays research at IDC in a statement.

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