Windows 8 effect yet to be seen in hardware sales

The experience of the US retail market indicates that the launch of Windows 8 has been unable to reveerse declines in sales of both laptops and desktop PCs

The launch of Windows 8 has failed to give sales of laptops and desktop PCs the shot in the arm some in the industry might have been hoping for as we move into the depths of the key Christmas buying period.

Research from the US by the NPD Group shows that the weakness in sales of laptops has not been reversed by a Windows 8 effect and desktops also continue to drop with declines since the launch of 21% compared to the same period last year.

"After just four weeks on the market, it’s still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.  “We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for.”

One of the problems identified by NPD was the glut of Windows 7 devices that were still out in the market in the run-up to the launch of the latest version of the Microsoft OS.

"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,” said Baker.

But there was a silver lining when it came to the reaction to the touch feature of Windows 8, one of the key differentiator's the OS delivers.

“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 consumer notebook market," said Baker.

Earlier this week a Microsoft executive told an audience at an investors conference that it has sold 40m Windows 8 licenses in the first month of launch, which meant it was doing slightly better than it had been with Windows 7 at the same point in the sales cycle.

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