It used to be that a new version of Windows would be a major shot in the arm for PC sales, but that’s no longer the case. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tracker, shipments are expected to fall 10 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing the overall decline for the year down by 10.3 per cent.
As a result, IDC has revised its forecast for next year, but it does see things stabilising by the end of 2016, and even predicts some growth.
The analyst firm forecasts sales in the United States, Western Europe, and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) continuing to fall, but only fractionally, with Canada improving slightly, and Japan and Middle East and Africa (MEA) experiencing double-digit lower growth over the next year or more.
IDC has a lot of faith in Windows 10, and remains "optimistic that replacements of commercial and consumer systems will ultimately stabilise the market and even drive growth".
IDC believes that waning interest in tablets and minimal growth in smartphones will see users returning to the PC globally, although not so much in the United States where other form factors, including detachable tablets, will continue to reign supreme.
"Despite the substantial shift in spending and usage models from PCs toward tablets and phones in recent years, very few people are giving up on their PC - they are just making it last longer", said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research.
"The free upgrade to Windows 10 enables some users to postpone an upgrade a little, but not indefinitely. Some consumers will use a free OS upgrade to delay a new PC purchase and test the transition to Windows 10. However, the experience of those customers may serve to highlight what they are missing by stretching the life of an older PC, and we expect they will ultimately purchase a new device.
"As detachable systems become more compelling (including attractive new Wintel designs), some volume will go to detachable tablets rather than traditional PC form factors, which will cut into the PC growth rate, but still supports the PC vendors and ecosystem".