For the first time since the fourth quarter of 2003, Hewlett-Packard moved into the No. 1 position for worldwide PC shipments in the third quarter of 2006, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. The preliminary statistics show that HP’s lead over Dell is 110,000 units.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 59.1 million units in the third quarter of 2006, a 6.7 percent increase from the same period last year. The U.S. PC market experienced a year-over-year shipment decline of 2 percent. The last time the U.S. PC market suffered a decline in PC shipments was the second quarter of 2002.

HP performed well across all regions, as its worldwide PC shipments in the third quarter of 2006 increased 15.4 percent year-over-year, and its market share reached 16.3 percent. Dell experienced its lowest year-over-year growth in the company’s history, as worldwide PC shipments increased 3.6 percent in the third quarter, and its worldwide PC market share slipped to 16.1 percent. Dell’s shipment growth rates were below the industry averages in the U.S. and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions.

“HP continues to take better advantage of the faster growth segments such as the consumer market. The company’s share trajectory reflects its improvements in operational execution and changes in marketing,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest’s Client Computing Markets Group, in the press release. “Dell felt the effects of the weak sales in the U.S. market, and it gave up some ground.”

“Two factors that contributed to the poor performance in the U.S. market were continued weakness in the professional deskbased market, and the carry-over effect from strong sales in the second quarter,” said Ms. Kitagawa. “Strong sales to the home market, fueled by solid back to school sales and mobile PCs could not offset the decline in other areas.”

Dell held onto the No. 1 position in the U.S. PC market in the third quarter of 2006 despite a 7.1 percent decline in shipments year-over-year (see Table 2). The company suffered from weak deskbased PC growth, which offset solid mobile PC growth across all segments. HP capitalized on strong demand in the home market. Offerings of AMD-based systems aimed at consumers helped HP’s performance in the home market.

The EMEA market increased third quarter 2006 PC shipments 9.1 percent from the same period last year, as shipments totaled 18.5 million units. This region was driven by a strong consumer segment that had low price points on entry level models, and above average sales in Central Eastern Europe and Middle East and Africa markets. HP extended its lead as the No. 1 vendor in the region, while Acer closely edged out Dell to reach the No. 2 position. Aggressive pricing the consumer entry-level market and strong mobile PC sales to the small and midsize business (SMB) segment boosted Acer’s performance.

Third quarter PC shipments in Asia/Pacific increased 13.7 percent from the third quarter of 2005, as shipments reached 15.1 million units. Most countries exhibited positive growth rates, with the exception of New Zealand and Taiwan where growth declined. Mobile PC shipments grew 31 percent, while deskbased PCs are estimated to have grown 9.6 percent.

The Latin America PC market experienced year-over-year growth of 20 percent with shipments totaling 4.6 million units in the third quarter of 2006. Mobile PCs increased 65 percent, while deskbased PCs grew 15 percent. Brazil’s performance in notebooks was exceptional with 100 percent growth. Brazil is getting closer to Mexico’s overall mobile PC shipment levels.

In Japan, third quarter PC shipments declined 3 percent compared to the same period last year with shipments of 3.5 million units. Deskbased and mobile PC shipments were in line with Gartner’s expectations of almost flat shipment growth in the professional market, and high single to double-digit percentage declines in the consumer market.

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe.

Additional research can be found on Gartner’s Computing Hardware section on Gartner’s Web site at http://www.gartner.com/it/products/research/asset_129157_2395.jsp

MacDailyNews Note: Apple holds 2.7% worldwide market share using Apple’s stated 1.61 million Macs (Apple’s fiscal Q4, calendar Q3) and Gartner’s 59.143 million total worldwide PC shipment 3Q numbers. IDC and Gartner’s numbers vary slightly due to differing methodologies.

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