While Dell may have reported better-than-expected third-quarter sales, things may not be so rosy for the PC giant, which lost further ground to rival HP in global PC shipments, according to an industry researcher.
A study from iSuppli found that HP extended its lead over Dell in PC shipments during the quarter, moving 13.1 million systems. That figure represented a 32.7 percent increase from HP's performance a year earlier.
It was a different story for Dell, which showed only anemic growth during third quarter, according to iSuppli. The research firm said Dell's shipments grew only 1.5 percent year-to-year, reaching 9.9 million.
iSuppli said Dell posted the smallest growth among the top five PC systems sellers, which also include Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba.
"Despite a renewed focus on its PC business, and the return of Michael Dell to the company's helm, Dell's channel business is taking time to ramp up and have an impact on company sales," said iSuppli Principal Analyst Matthew Wilkins in a statement.
HP's act may have been a tough one to follow, as the company's performance outstripped the overall industry's growth by a wide margin. iSuppli found that global PC shipments, totaling 68.1 million, grew 11.1 percent from the second quarter and 13.8 percent compared to the year-ago quarter.
On the basis of the strong numbers, HP's market share continued to swell, reaching 19.2 percent during the quarter. In the second quarter, the company accounted for 18.3 percent of the market, an increase from the 16.5 percent of worldwide shipments it had commanded during the third quarter of 2006.
The latest quarter thus became the fifth straight dominated by Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP.
"Hewlett-Packard continues to gain momentum in the PC market due to its strong channel presence and its moves to capitalize on the strength of the notebook segment," Wilkins said.
Dell, on the other hand, saw its share of global shipments slip to 14.6 percent, down from 16.3 percent during the third quarter of 2006, according to iSuppli's report.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell is also losing share specifically within the notebook PC segment of the market, where it faces stiffening competition from Acer.
The Taiwanese vendor's strong performance propelled it to the top spot in that category for the quarter, knocking Dell back to second place.
Acer's year-to-year spike in sales actually placed it at the forefront of all PC makers in growth. The company's shipments increased 68.8 percent from the third quarter of 2006, although it shipped only 5.4 million systems, far fewer than its larger competitors.
The company's global share of the PC market also grew to 7.9 percent, an upswing from the 5.4 percent it held the year earlier.
"Acer's ascension in market share is due to its strong performance in the notebook business, and its robust sales in the Asia/Pacific and European regions," Wilkins said. "Acer is executing well in the channel and offering aggressive pricing."
That performance came just short of unseating Lenovo for the No. 3 spot in global PC shipments. iSuppli found Lenovo commands an 8.1 percent market share, although Wilkins said the Chinese company is likely to fall behind its rival during fourth quarter, thanks to Acer's momentum and its acquisition of Gateway.
The jostling for position by both vendors comes as the notebook sector remains white hot. The segment continued to drive much of the growth for the entire PC market, posting a year-to-year increase of 33.5 percent, according to iSuppli.
Desktop PC shipments continue to grow as well, notching a 3.4 percent increase from last year, to total 39 million during the quarter.
iSuppli's current forecasts anticipate worldwide PC unit growth at 12 percent for the entire year.
This article was first published on InternetNews.com.