Global PC shipments fell again last year, though research firms see positive signs for 2015

The global market for personal computers is still weak, after two years of declining sales, although researchers cited some positive signs in a pair of sales reports issued Monday.

The IDC research firm says total PC shipments were down 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year — though not as bad as the 4.8 percent drop the company predicted. IDC also says shipments for the year fell 2.1 percent.

But researchers at another firm, Gartner, estimate PC shipments rose 1 percent in the last quarter, while shipments for the year are down less than 1 percent. Each firm uses different methods of estimating computer shipments by manufacturers around the world.

Both firms say it appears the long-running slump in computer sales began to level off last year.