Market research outfit IDC said that sales of microprocessors were flat in the last quarter of 2010 but full year shipments were up 17.1 per cent.
Disappointingly for Intel-rival AMD, Intel made further gains in market share, rising to 80.8 per cent of unit market share in the fourth quarter while AMD fell to 18.9 per cent.
One of the key trends of 2010 was the movement of customers away from netbooks with Intel Atom CPUs towards competitively priced notebooks with higher end faster processors. The love affair with the underpowered Atom netbook looks to be over with consumers turning to either mobile devices or more powerful notebook computers.
"The ongoing shift to mobile processors, combined with a shift back towards high-performance mobile processors, as opposed to Atom processors for netbooks, drove a significant rise in overall processor average selling prices," said IDC semiconductor boss Shane Rau.
AMD, handed an opportunity to do better on the back of the Intel Sandy Bridge support chipset flaw, kicked off a campain called "Ready. Willing. Stable."
However IDC is pessemistic that AMD can improve their market share, citing the lack of a competing product with Intel's Sandy Bridge. "I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of volume opportunity for AMD to steal," Rau told IDG News.
IDC is forecasting more modest growth in PC processors for 2011 at 10.1 per cent, down from the 17.1 per cent growth the company reported for 2010.
"The affects of emerging devices, like media tablets, and economic concerns in Europe and the U.S., lead us to be conservative in our overall outlook."