A new research report from the NPD Group suggests Windows 8 might not be providing that much-needed boost to the PC market after all.
According to the New York-based research group, Windows-based PC sales have fallen 21 percent compared to the same period last year since Windows 8 launched Oct. 26. Windows notebook sales, in particular, have fallen 24 percent since the new software came to market, and Windows desktop sales have dropped 9 percent.
"After just four weeks on the market, it's still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement. "We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for."
Companies ranging from Intel to Dell have expressed hope in Windows 8 reviving sluggish PC sales. But according to NPD, Windows 8 has accounted for only 58 percent of Windows computing device unit sales since its launch, compared to the 83 percent that Windows 7 captured during its first four weeks on the market.
What's more, NPD noted that Windows 8 tablet sales have failed to take off, with sales representing less than 1 percent of all Windows 8 device sales to date.
The one bright spot in NPD's research was related to touch-enabled Windows 8 PCs, which the firm said are selling well among consumers.
"The strong performance of Windows 8 notebooks with touch screens, where Windows 8 truly shines, offers some reason for optimism," NPD's Baker said in a statement. "These products accounted for 6 percent of Windows 8 notebook sales at an average price of $867, helping to re-establish a premium segment to the Windows consumer notebook market."
NPD's research comes on the heels of Microsoft's own announcement that it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since its launch. However, the software giant did not break out this figure to say how many of those licenses were sold with new PCs and how many were sold as upgrades for older Windows releases. Microsoft was also mum on sales for its new Surface tablet, which went on sale alongside Windows 8.
The software giant did claim, though, that Windows 8 sales are "outpacing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades."
PUBLISHED NOV. 30, 2012