Such is the parlous state of the global PC market that a return to marginal growth is lauded as a pretty good result - especially since declines were forecasted by bean-counters.
First quarter sales into the channel were up 1.9 per cent to 89 million units, Gartner prelims reveal, while IDC estimated 87.1 million units were shipped, up 2.3 per cent on its own figures. Both had expected a worse outcome.
Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa noted that EMEA led the upturn with "better than expected" numbers totalling 28.2 million boxes, a rise of 6.7 per cent, albeit on the back of a very weak 2011 for the region.
Asia Pacific shipments reached 30.3 million, up 2 per cent, which was lower than anticipated due to slower growth in India caused by a delayed local government PC initiative and in China after the rural PC programme was scrapped.
Gartner said vendors "cannot heavily depend" on emerging markets even though penetration in these areas is still relatively low.
But it was the US market that really stumbled with sales of 15.5 million representing a 3.5 per cent fall, and shipments in Latin America dropped 3.2 per cent to nine million.
Hard disk shortages were predicted to hamper PC availability in Q1 following the flooding in Thailand last year.
IDC veep for worldwide consumer devices trackers Loren Loverde, said this and other factors "limited demand".
The results were a mixed bag regionally but vendor turnout also varied. HP put to bed a tough 2011, posted growth of 3.2 per cent and took a market share of 18 per cent, IDC stats show.
Lenovo - which is gunning to seize the top spot from HP inside three years - grew shipments 43.7 per cent to give it a 13.4 per cent market share.
On the flip side, Dell sales slid 2.1 per cent and its share slipped to 11.6 per cent as Acer, once the high-flying notebook lynchpin, saw shipments dip 3.7 per cent and its market share drop to 9.9 per cent.
Analysts had expected sales in the first half of the year to decline but boosted by the Q1 showing, Loverde now expects shipments to pick up "significantly" in H2 when hard drive supply returns to normal and Windows 8 launches. ®