PC shipments were up in 2010, but a poor second half to the year in the European, Middle East and Asian regions were well below expectations in what will be considered an underwhelming year for the computer industry.

Gartner's figures suggest that 350.9 million PCs – laptops, netbooks and desktops but not tablets – were shipped in 2010, a 13 per cent increase on 2009's total.

"For all 2010, the results indicate the PC market recovered from the recession, as it returned to double-digit growth, compared to low single-digit growth in 2009," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

"However, the PC market will face challenges going forward with more intensified competition among consumer spending."

EMEA

But the EMEA region saw a promising first half to the year give way to a disappointing last 6 months.

"PC shipments in EMEA remain weak with growth in single-digits for the second quarter in a row," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

"In 2010, the PC market in EMEA recorded a strong first half and was followed by a weak second half, resulting in a year-on-year growth of 13.3 per cent.

"The slowdown in the second half was impacted by the weakening economic climate, vendors' limited ability to reduce PC prices and the introduction of competitive devices."