No matter who's slicing or dicing the numbers, the message is still the same - the PC industry got a long overdue shot in the arm in the first quarter of 2010, with worldwide shipments up 24.2 percent by IDC's count or 27.4 percent based on Gartner's research.
In the U.S., Gartner said shipments were up 20.2 percent from the year-ago quarter while IDC said the U.S. saw a 16.9 percent increase.
What's going on? Quite simply, the industry is rebounding, largely among consumers but with businesses also loosening their budgets a bit. And the numbers may even be a little bit deceiving when you consider how dismal the economy and outlook was a year ago. In a statement, Andrew Hanson, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, said:
The U.S. PC market exhibited encouraging signs of recovery in the first quarter. While part of this growth is a correction from a dismal 1Q09, some of it was driven by new PC refresh projects in the commercial markets. This is in addition to ongoing consumer appetite for more mobile devices as price points remain attractive and the multi-device per user environment expands.
Globally, Lenovo led the charts in growth. In the U.S., the big growth numbers belonged to Acer.
If any of this sounds familiar, that's because Intel was referencing some of the same trends yesterday when the company released its better-than-expected first quarter earnings. Both Intel and the research groups point to pent-up demand from the recession and are somewhat bullish on the short-term future. All are equally cautious, though, from being overly optimistic.