N.Y. – Internet security software
was 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 Steven 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.”