A free upgrade option that's slated to accompany the launch of Windows 10 will be great for consumers, but it's putting the PC market in a pickle.
According to the latest figures from IDC's Quarterly PC Tracker, PC shipments are expected to decline 6.2 percent in 2015, due in part to a slower-than-expected consumer transition to Microsoft's new OS, which is set to launch later this year.
IDC says the free Windows 10 upgrade will reduce the need for consumers to rush out to buy a new computer.
As for the commercial segment, IDC expects businesses to evaluate the OS before deploying it, and for most new commercial PC purchases to be replacement systems.
It's worth noting, however, that IDC's definition of a PC does not include products with a detachable keyboard, which excludes the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro lines.
"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, VP of 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."
But the PC market's woes aren't all the fault of Microsoft, as IDC says consumers will continue to prioritize spending on phones, tablets and wearable devices like the Apple Watch once the holiday shopping season rolls around.
The 2015 slowdown marks the fourth consecutive year of declining volume for PCs, as told by IDC's statistics. The market stabilized somewhat in mid-2014, around the time when Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. But the demand has now fizzled.
IDC also said the strong US dollar has constrained spending, particularly abroad and in the consumer segment, although commercial demand remains strong.