Sales of personal computers have increased for the first time in almost a year, report market analysts IDC. Sales of PCs climbed 2.3% in the third quarter of 2009 according to figures compiled by the firm. Sales of mobile computers were particularly strong.
The upward swing is a marked change from the previous three quarters when sales were down during every period.
The firm said strong demand as students returned to school helped to push the uptick in sales.
Demand for desktop computers was sluggish, said IDC, but sales of mobile computers continued to boom. Figures gathered by IDC suggest that sales of portable machines were up 33.5% on the same period in 2008. Also likely to be contributing to the uptick was the release of Windows 7 in October 2009.
In particular, said IDC, sales of small portable computers or netbooks were up sharply, rising by 37% over the total in the second quarter of 2009. Netbooks are cut-down laptops that typically sport small screens and keyboards but excel at letting people connect to the net while on the move.
IDC estimates that sales of netbooks now account for about 28% of the consumer market. At the same time in 2008, their market share was 14%.
However, it said competition for buyers looking for a netbook could come from manufacturers launching ultra-thin machines, said IDC.
It also expected growth to continue in 2010 when sales would largely be driven by buyers in developing nations where growth will exceed 10%.
Portable computers will continue their popularity during 2010, said IDC, although desktop sales were likely to remain flat.
IDC said it expected growth to be persistent until 2013.
"An aging installed base of PCs to replace, along with government aid and declining average selling prices are key ingredients in a recipe for resurgence of PC shipments into the commercial market segment," said Richard Shim, research manager for PCs at IDC, in a statement.
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