PC shipments worldwide increased 13.4% over shipments in 2006 to 271.2 million units last year, Gartner said, while rival IDC pegged growth at 14.3% to 269 million units. Numbers often differ between analyst firms because of methodology.
In the fourth quarter, shipments rose by 15.5% over the same period a year ago to 77.4 million units, according to IDC. "Fourth quarter results show a very healthy PC market," Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, said in a statement.
Gartner reported a 13.1% increase in the fourth quarter to 75.9 million units.
Both firms said Dell showed signs of recovery after struggling for about a year. The PC maker increased shipments by 15.2% year-to-year in the fourth quarter in the U.S. to 5.5 million units, IDC said. Gartner had Dell's U.S. shipments growing by 14.9% to 5.3 million units, and said it was the second consecutive quarter of year-to-year growth for the vendor.
In the U.S., both researchers had Dell and Hewlett-Packard as No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the fourth quarter. Rounding out the top five were Apple, Acer and Toshiba, respectively, according to IDC. Gartner placed Acer in the No. 3 spot, followed by Apple and Toshiba, respectively.
Globally, the analyst firms had the same vendor ranking for the year and the fourth quarter. HP led, followed in order by Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba.
Despite the healthy growth in 2007, IDC cautioned that it saw a slowdown in growth for the next couple of years worldwide. "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," David Daoud, research manager for personal computing at IDC, said.
In the United States, growth was driven in part by consumers' attraction to notebooks, and falling prices. "Going forward, demand could soften further if bad news over the economy persists and consumer confidence worsens," Daoud said.
Gartner said fourth quarter PC shipments in the U.S. exceeded its expectations, rising 7.2% over a year ago to 17 million units. For the full year, shipments increased 5.3% to 64.2 million units.
IDC reported an 8.8% rise in U.S. shipments year-to-year in the fourth quarter to 18.6 million units. For the full year, shipments grew by 7% over 2006 to 70.1 million units, the firm said.