Tech Benches Boost Security Software Sales

By Doug Olenick On Aug 3 2009 - 6:00am

Internet security software has been the lone bright spot for retail software sales so far in 2009, according to The NPD Group.

The research firm said security software sold through store's tech benches, the computer service department, comprised 18 percent of all retail-level security software sales. This is up from 11 percent in 2008.

However, these sales by the tech departments did cut into off the shelf security software sales. NPD reported that 52 percent of in-store security software sales were off the shelf, compared with 62 percent in 2008.

While the tech benches influence in selling security software is growing, NPD Stephen Baker, industry analysis VP, said these departments are still not recognized by most consumers. Baker said only 13 percent of consumers have used a tech benches services so far in 2009, up 2 percent, but 42 percent of consumers were not even aware of the tech benches' existence.

“Tech benches are, like most computer services, most successful and most appreciated when a friend or associate recommends them,” Baker said. “Our survey showed that 40 percent of interactions at tech benches resulted from word-of-mouth or a recommendation. As interactions grow and reputation improves, the amount of software sold at retail — especially critical software like security — is likely to continue to migrate away from the shelf and towards the tech bench.”

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