The surge in PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2003 has highlighted the importance of sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
"EMEA has clearly been a key contributor to growth this quarter," said Karine Paoli, research director for IDC's EMEA Personal Computing Group.
IDC reported a 15.2% jump in worldwide PC shipments for the fourth quarter, while shipments in EMEA grew to 19.7%.
The relative weakness of the US dollar against the euro helped US suppliers maintain competitive pricing, despite component and display shortages, Paoli said.
Hewlett-Packard not only led worldwide shipments in the quarter but in Europe, followed by Dell. These US players made significant gains in the region through pricing as well as their ability to obtain needed components through high-volume orders, which local suppliers were unable to make.
"Major brand suppliers outperformed white box suppliers because they were able to get their hands on components," said Andrew Brown, program manager of IDC's EMEA Mobile Computing group.
Notebook shipments grew 49% year on year, while desktop shipments increased to 10.2%.
Notebook shipments were aided by robust demand in the consumer and small and medium-sized business markets, as well as by competitive pricing, Brown said.
The market research group predicted strong double-digit growth in EMEA in 2004, driven by continued notebook demand and corporate refresh cycles.
Scarlett Pruitt writes for IDG News Service