1998 retail software sales hit $US5.2 billion

1998 retail software sales hit $US5.2 billion

Microsoft kept its steady lead in retail and mail-order software sales for 1998, bringing in top dollars amid price drops even though other publishers are ahead in quantity.

Overall, retail PC software revenues increased 13 per cent over 1997 to $US5.2 billion, according to sales data from the market research firm PC Data. But the average price of retail software fell 8.9 per cent to $US38.68, the largest decline PC Data has recorded in eight years of tracking the industry.

Microsoft had more than 23 per cent of total 1998 software sales dollars, and its dominant share has been steady for the past several years. In 1997, Microsoft's share was 22 per cent of the total; in 1996, it was 20 per cent, according to PC Data.

Runner up for the past three years is The Learning Company, a distant second with 11 per cent of overall retail sales. The Learning Company leads among education software publishers tallying 42 per cent of revenues in its segment. Havas Interactive (formerly Cendant Software) is the second largest education software publisher with 25 per cent of sales in that category.

Microsoft dominates the business software market with 42 per cent of all sales dollars in that category. Symantec is second in business software with 9 per cent of sales revenues, and Adobe is third with nearly 7 per cent.

Among entertainment vendors, Havas leads with nearly 19 per cent of sales revenues. Following are Electronic Arts with 13 per cent of sales revenues and GT Interactive with an approximate 9 per cent share. The average price of game software dropped just over $US4 per box, from $US27.41 in 1997 to $US23.34 in 1998.

In the overall industry, reference software saw the greatest growth, 21.5 per cent in 1998, according to PC Data. Finance software sales revenues grew 21 per cent, and dollar sales of education software increased 17 per cent over 1997.

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