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Software Sales Hold Steady, NPD Says

Year over year software sales have managed to stay stable, despite the beating being delivered to the hardware side of the business, according to a study by NPD Intelect.

For the first half of 2001, almost 70 million software titles have been sold, up 1.2 percent compared to the same period of 2000, for a total of $2.8 billion. Second quarter sales performed at a somewhat slower pace compared to the first quarter, but were still 1.9 percent higher then in second quarter of 2000, said Steve Koenig, senior software analyst for NPD, who added that such a fall off is historically in line with previous years.

Finance and business software were the two big gainers for the first half, with the former category up 12.5 percent and the latter up 7.7 percent. Tax software helped drive the finance category, actually comprising almost three-quarters of all sales for the area. According to Koenig, retailers sold 1 million more tax titles in the first half of 2001 than during the first six month of 2000. Unit sales for this year were up 16.2 percent, while dollar sales jumped 12.5 percent.

Koenig attributed these increases to continued refining of the tax software, which includes making it more user friendly and comprehensive.

Antivirus and communication software sales helped boost the business category. Upward of 750,000 more antivirus detection titles were sold this year, a 29.2 percent increase over sales during the same period last year. Higher average selling prices for these applications helped boost revenue by 35.5 percent, Koenig said.