There appears to be a glimmer hope for the declining PC market according to IT and market research firms Gartner and IDC. Recent data from the two companies suggests that while worldwide computer shipments are still dropping, the overall decline is much less steep than in previous months.

While this doesn't really sound all that reassuring, in comparison to the double-digit drop the industry experienced over the past several months, IDC and Gartner only estimate a year-over-year decline in shipments of around 8.6% for Q3. According to the research groups, the US market "continued to show signs of recovery" and in Japan most of the top 5 PC vendors saw growth compared to the previous year.

As far as who the top PC vendors were, Lenovo, HP and Dell took the top spots respectively. Gartner contributes Lenovo's success to its strong 2% growth in the US, and HP's position to its significant boost in shipments to India as part of a large education campaign. Taking third spot, Dell saw its first year-on-year growth since 2011, having shipped more than 9.5 million units in a single quarter for the first time in over a year.

In what Gartner says is the "Back-to-School sales quarter" that experienced the "lowest PC volume" in 5 years, Asus and Acer appear to have taken the biggest hit. Both companies suffered significant losses in Q3 due to a number of reasons, some of which include the lack of a corporate customer base and the rise of mobile devices (among other things), according to Gartner.