Over the seven months since Microsoft released Windows 8, the sales data haven’t been encouraging, with IDC reporting a 13.9 percent decline in the PC industry last quarter, its largest on record. But it looks like there’s one bright spot: as much as 10 percent of new laptops sold that quarter included touchscreens. The numbers — 46 million laptop shipments, 4.57 million with touchscreens — come from DisplayBank, a division of market research company IHS, but they’re close enough to the 50.5 million laptops quoted by Canalys to warrant a look. If the numbers are accurate, that’s a 51.8 percent increase in laptops with touchscreens over the past quarter.

The number of touch-enabled laptops is likely to keep growing

Since the release of Windows 8, every major PC manufacturer has added at least one touchscreen machine to its lineup, so the 10 percent figure doesn’t come as a complete shock. In fact, even though there's been renewed interest in building premium computers, Windows laptop prices have been steadily declining over the past several years, and in that light, 10 percent of price-conscious buyers paying extra for non-essential components could be seen as a significant win. And despite Steve Jobs' infamous line about "gorilla arm," the number of touch-enabled laptops is likely to keep growing — DisplayBank says manufacturers like Asus and Lenovo are aiming to double touchscreen penetration in the near future, and Intel CEO Paul Otellini recently said he expects the price of inexpensive touchscreen laptops to fall to the $200 mark.