Research firm IDC claims PC shipments in October through December were up 15.5 percent, to 77.4 million units. HP is still the biggest PC maker with a marketshare of 19 percent and Dell takes the second spot with a 14.6 marketshare. Acer is third with 9.6 percent, Lenovo fourth with 7.5 percent and Toshiba scored 4 percent of the market.
IDC said U.S. and global gains were driven by growing popularity of mobile computers as well as shifts into new sales channels by Dell and Taiwan-based Acer Inc. Dell has recently begun selling through large retail chains such as Wal-Mart and Staples, in a departure from its direct-to-customer business model.
"Fourth-quarter results show a very healthy PC market," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's worldwide quarterly PC tracker. "There is a lot happening with vendors repositioning their channels and going after new markets, while falling prices and portable adoption continue to drive volume."
The U.S. economic downturn has triggered predictions that U.S. technology spending won't grow as fast as it has — concerns that were heightened Tuesday after Intel Corp.'s robust profit and sales figures narrowly missed analyst expectations.
The chip-maker said the PC business appeared to be healthy and blamed its shortfall on lower-than-expected sales of a type of flash memory found in many digital gadgets.
But IDC said it does expect the growth in PC sales to slow.
"Despite fourth-quarter strength, projections for the next couple years anticipate slower growth," Loverde said. "Rising concerns about economic growth are likely to reduce expectations further, although we're still likely to see double-digit growth through 2008 and probably 2009."
IDC reported that 269 million PCs shipped in 2007, for annual growth of 14.3 percent.