Hewlett-Packard said its fourth quarter revenue rose by 15 percent from one year earlier to $28.3 billion, with each of HP's sales regions racking up double-digit growth. "We continue to benefit from our broad geographic reach, with 67 percent of our revenue coming from outside of the U.S.," said HP CFO Catherine Lesjak.
HP's Personal Systems Group -- which sells desktop PCs, notebooks, workstations, and handheld devices -- saw revenues climb by 30 percent year-over-year to $10.1 billion. In particular, notebook sales rose by 57 percent to account for 50 percent of the Group's sales as well as $5 billion of HP's revenues across the board.
HP saw strong consumer desire for notebooks as well as steady demand in the whole consumer segment across all product lines globally, noted CEO Mark Hurd. "We continue to benefit as demand shifts toward mobility," he said.
Above-Average Global Growth
HP retained the No. 1 position in the global PC market during the third quarter by generating growth that was well above the worldwide average, noted Mikako Kitagawa -- principal analyst at Gartner's Client Computing Markets Group. HP's growth, year-over-year, was 34 percent, while worldwide growth was 17 percent, Kitagawa explained in an e-mail. "These figures are still preliminary, but I believe the final figures would not be that far from these," she added.
In Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, HP grew its PC shipments by 36.4 percent overall, with notebook shipments in particular rising by more than 70 percent, said IDC. HP's growing notebook business also captured 35 percent of the overall Latin America mobile PC market, reported Gartner research director Luis Anavitarte. "It is estimated that 53 percent of all HP PC sales were in the consumer segment, pointing to continuing explosive growth of the retail markets," he wrote recently.
In the Asia-Pacific region, where notebooks sales increased by 60 percent year-on-year, HP continued to gain on the current market leader Lenovo, observed Singapore-based IDC analyst Bryan Ma. "Even emerging markets that intuitively would gravitate toward lower-priced desktop PCs have shown increased interest in notebooks," Ma explained. "If things keep going at this pace, the region's portable PC shipments will likely reach the 20 million unit milestone for the year."
Hurd attributed the explosion of Web content currently underway around the planet to rising global demand. "The sheer size of global content -- whether it's produced by ESPN or News Corp. or coming off the Web at Yahoo -- is doubling every 18 months," Hurd noted.
In many emerging markets -- where landlines are not nearly as pervasive as in the U.S. -- the only access this content comes through is the use of a notebook and a wireless card, Hurd explained. "The necessity of some of this technology is more of a staple than what some of us typically think," he said.
HP grew revenue by 37 percent in the so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, which collectively accounted for 9 percent of the company's third-quarter revenue, Hurd noted. "So we feel very good about the trends we are seeing in terms of the number of people that want access to that content and our opportunity to compete for that," he said.
Hurd rejected the suggestion that the declining value of the U.S. dollar had been a factor in propelling PC sales growth during the latest quarter. "I would not call any of this unit growth as currency-driven," Hurd said. "We think it is strong, natural demand based on the content and the access to it."