IDC said that trends in the current PC market - such as consumers moving towards notebook computers, and the changing pricing environment - had contributed to HP's sales figures.
"HP clearly was able to capitalise on the situation, solidifying its lead in worldwide quarterly shipments with a 3.4 per cent share advantage over Dell, but it also reflects underlying pricing and segment trends that were tough on competitors such as Dell, Lenovo, Gateway , and Fujitsu-Siemens ," Loren Loverde, an analyst at IDC, said.
Aggressive pricing successful
Among the companies increasing their sales are HP, Acer, Toshiba and Apple . They have all benefited from their respective aggressive pricing, as well as strong retail and consumer sales, particularly of notebook computers. IDC said it didn't seem that the delayed release of Windows Vista had a big impact on shipments during the fourth quarter.
"It remains to be seen if the consumer drivers will remain strong in the first half of 2007," Loverde said.
Gartner's statistics also had HP in the number one slot, with 17.4 per cent, ahead of Dell on 13.9 per cent (see images for a full breakdown).
Overall 2006 sales up 9%
During the whole of 2006, PC sales rose around 9 per cent to roughly $230 million. Dell grabbed the top PC seller spot. The company had 17.1 per cent of sales, ahead of HP (17 per cent), Lenovo (7.3 per cent), Acer (5.9 per cent), and Toshiba (4 per cent), according to IDC.
Gartner vice president Charles Smulders warned that overall revenue would not be very impressive due to the brutal price competition in the market.
"It's a very challenging market to operate in, with very slim margins, one which requires the highest levels of execution in order to maintain profitability," he said.
Slow sales in the US, Europe and Japan made sales increase by 8.7 per cent only, to 65.6 million systems sold during the period. The growth rate was thus less than the forecasted 10.1 per cent.
According to Gartner, global PC sales increased by 7.4 per cent, to 67.3 million systems sold during the fourth quarter.
Both Gartner and IDC said that competition from other consumer electronics products, along with the delayed release of Windows Vista , hindered the growth in the PC market.