Channel Marker

Nov 30 2012   8:03PM GMT

Big yawn? NPD reports Windows 8 sales ‘off to a slow start’

Heather Clancy Heather Clancy Profile: Heather Clancy

Within four weeks of its launch, Windows 7 managed to capture 83 percent of Windows device hardware sales in the retail channel. But Windows 8 has so far fallen short of that market: it accounted for about 58 percent of Windows sales within the same timeframe, reports NPD Group.

That finding comes from the research firm’s weekly tracking service.

During the time period in question (the four weeks from Oct. 21 to Nov. 17), sales of Windows devices actually fell 21 percent, says NPD. Windows 8 tablet sales were negligible, representing less than 1 percent of overall unit shipments through retail, according to the data.

Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD, noted in a statement:

“The bad Back-to-School period left a lot of inventory in the channel, which had a real impact on the initial sell-through rates for Windows 8. The strong performance of Windows 8 notebooks with touchscreens, where Windows 8 truly shines, offers some reason for optimism. 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 8 consumer notebook market.”

Why should solution providers care about what’s happening in the retail channel? To me, these sales will be a good indicator of what VARs and integrators will be required to support in the future as more small and midsize companies sanction Bring You Own Device (BYOD) policies. The ability to ease management of BYOD devices – especially Windows 8 tablets – is supposed to be one of the areas where Windows 8 will shine in the future. But if individuals are still opting for Android or Apple iOS tablets instead, that could be a challenge for Windows 8 adoption.

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