With the launch of Windows 8 still several months away at least, some research companies are making predictions about how the launch of Microsoft's next PC OS will affect the overall PC market. This week, IDC reports that it does expect Windows 8's launch to help boost shipments of PCs overall after a recent period of slow sales growth.
IDC reports that in 2011, PC shipments worldwide grew just 1.8 percent. In developed territories such as North America and Europe, PC shipments actually shrank 9 percent compared to 2010, thanks in part to the currently poor economic situation.
IDC predicts that while PC shipments will grow modestly in the first half of 2012, they will accelerate in the second half thanks to the launch of Windows 8. IDC also predicts that ultrabook-based notebook PCs will experience sales growth as well.
In its report, IDC says that some consumers are currently holding off buying new PCs due to the "powerful distraction" of tablets such as the iPad. That won't last for long, according to the company. IDC says:
However, end user surveys tell us that few people consider media tablets as replacements for their PCs, so later this year when there is a new Microsoft operating system, available in sleek new PC form factors, we believe consumer interest in PCs will begin to rebound.
IDC says that overall, PC shipments will grow five percent worldwide in 2012 and will increase by 9.5 percent in 2013.