Windows 10 Is Unfortunately No Magic Elixir For Sagging PC Sales

Microsoft is nearing the release of its Windows 10 operating system, which is expected to debut by the end of summer. Typically a new Windows launch would mean a spike in PC sales, and while that may still be the case, the new OS isn't likely to be a cure-all for what's become a stagnant market. Instead, worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by 6.2 percent in 2015.

If that comes to pass, it will represent the fourth consecutive quarter of sagging PC sales. Market research firm IDC blames the continuing decline on ongoing competition from tablets and smartphones, while also citing "generally low demand."

Windows 10

"Microsoft and PC vendors still need to convince users of the advantages of the new OS and new PCs, which will take some time," said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers. "In addition to educating clients, they'll face tough competition from other devices, and weak spending in many regions. As a result, we see PC shipments stabilizing in 2016, followed by limited growth for the next few years."

That said, a little bit of perspective is in order. Market research firms have a tendency to play the part of Debbie Downer, and even though a 6.2 percent decline isn't something we'd like to see, that still equates to an estimated 289 million PC shipments in 2015. The majority of those will be portable systems, which will account for 167.2 million, while desktop PCs will see 121.8 million unit shipments.

It gets a little better a few years down the road. In 2019, it's expected that PC shipments will total just over 294 million units (175.4 million portable PCs and 118.8 million desktop systems).