The PC industry performed better than expected in Q1 2015, with worldwide shipments of desktops and laptops totaling some 68.5 million units, sliding 6.7 percent from the 73.4 million units shipped at the same time last year but exceeding previous projections, according to researcher IDC’s preliminary figures for the period.

Still, the global shipment results weren’t cause for celebration as the total volume slipped below 69 million units for the first time since Q1 2009, the researcher said. While Q3 and Q4 2014 shipment totals benefitted from Microsoft’s (MSFT) end of support for Windows XP and the associated hardware refresh, Q1 totals lacked the same tailwind and suffered as a result, IDC said. Currency fluctuations and unfavorable economic conditions also hamstrung shipments from reaching the earlier low-water mark.

Based on similar criteria, Intel (INTC) recently pared its initial forecast for Q1 chip sales by $1 billion, lowering its revenue projections for the period to $12.8 billion.

"The strength from key vendors, adoption of emerging products, improvements in the consumer market and in the broader economy are all positive signals," said Rajani Singh, IDC Personal Computing senior research analyst.

The next catalyst to improve PC shipments is Microsoft’s impending Windows 10 platform, Singh said.

“In addition to the free upgrade for consumers for a year after the release, Windows 10 should be a net positive as there is pent-up demand for replacements of older PCs,” he said. “Only part of the installed base needs to replace systems to keep the overall growth rate above zero for rest of the year.”

For Q1 2015, Lenovo retained its overall lead with 13.4 million PC units shipped for a 19.6 percent share of the market and 3.4 percent year-over-year growth. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) closely followed with about 13 million units shipped for a 19 percent stake of the market and 3.3 percent growth from the same period last year.

Dell, Acer and ASUS comprise the remainder of the top five vendors, with 13.5 percent, 7.1 percent and 7 percent share of the market, respectively. Dell lost 6.6 percent from last year and Acer 7 percent while ASUS gained 4.4 percent from its position this time last year.

Taken as a group, the remaining PC vendors outside the top five retreated some 17.6 percent from last year’s Q1 shipment totals, IDC said.

“This quarter and for the last two consecutive years, Lenovo again maintained the #1 position in the worldwide PC market by demonstrating outstanding innovation in the PC product line,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo chairman and chief executive.

“We are proud that we achieved industry-leading worldwide share of 19.6 percent, highlighted by record market share in the U.S of 11.8 percent, up 1.1 pts. year-over-year,” he said.