MONTREAL - High-tech trend watchers IDC Canada say more and more consumers have been buying the small and portable computers called netbooks, and the trend is expected to continue in the holiday season.

Toronto-based IDC says the demand for netbooks, also called mini notebooks, has helped the PC market rebound in the third quarter.

IDC says 1.7 million PCs were shipped in Canada, up 3.6 per cent from the same quarter last year. It also says netbooks sales have helped to push down the price of laptops.

Netbooks, which can cost as low as $199 but average about $300, let users do basic tasks like surf the Internet and check email.

U.S.-based research firm Gartner says worldwide PC shipments totalled almost 81 million in the quarter and that netbooks were the main growth driver.