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Computer Service Departments (Tech Benches) at Retail Outlets Are Having a Growing Impact on Software Sales.

New Report from The NPD Group Uncovers Surprising Information on Habits and Motivations Behind the Purchase of Computer Software

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- According to Consumer Software Purchase Motivators and Influences, a report just released by The NPD Group that provides an in-depth analysis of adults' purchase habits and motivations with regards to computer software products, 59 percent of respondents said that they purchased at least one computer software title in 2006. System Utilities, PC Games, and Finance were the top three software categories purchased over the last year.

The survey sheds light on a variety of topics, including the rise of used software sales, what motivates software customers to switch brands, the growth in the number of consumers who are using software to manage digital photos and edit digital video, and how the increasing number of computers in the home is driving the purchase of "multi-license" software products.

The survey also documents the rapid growth in sales of software products through retail "tech benches" - the computer service departments at big box retailers. According to the survey, 8 percent of respondents that purchased software at a big box retailer with a computer service department bought their product through the tech bench rather than off the shelf. Anti-virus and anti-spyware titles were the top titles sold through these tech benches.

"We have been aware of the growth in retail tech bench sales volume for a couple of years now, as we've been closely monitoring the sales volumes from the point-of-sale (POS) data that the NPD Group receives from the retail channel," said Chris Swenson, director of software industry analysis, The NPD Group. "However, it was somewhat difficult to pinpoint exactly how much of the volume was flowing through the retail tech bench, and how much was off the shelf. The results from this survey indicate that the retail tech bench software sales volume is massive, and is growing rapidly."

Furthermore, Swenson said, "Given the high percentage of respondents that said they made their tech bench software purchase with a new computer, it appears that sales representatives at these big box retailers are increasingly steering the customers purchasing new computers to their tech bench to purchase additional software and the corresponding software installation services."

While some pundits have proclaimed that the retail channel is declining in importance for security software publishers, Swenson believes that these survey results show the retail channel is actually increasing in importance for these publishers. "We've been telling our clients for some time now that the retail tech bench is the new security software kingmaker. Those security software companies that ignore the tech bench do so at their own risk," he said.


Data was collected via an online survey emailed to a sample of adults 18 and older. The data was then weighted to the U.S. Census to ensure a nationally representative sample. The report is based on 3,590 completed surveys. Fieldwork was conducted from January 17-29, 2007.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 16, 2007
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