Business software sales through the retail channel have increased 8 per cent year on year, according to market analyst Inform, and Windows XP and Internet security software have been the key drivers behind the gain.
Sales of business software through Australian retailers fell by 6 per cent from January to February, although compared to the same period last year the market is experiencing strong growth.
Microsoft's Office XP and Windows XP were both launched in 2001, and generated huge sales within the productivity and operating systems software markets during the XP launch months. However, sales of Windows XP in terms of packaged software are flattening now, while Office XP actually saw a rise in shipments of 32 per cent compared to January 2002. The annual effect of these products on the market was a 21 per cent increase in operating systems sales and a 190 per cent jump in shipments of office suites.
Internet security is another area of the market that has seen considerable growth over the last 12 months. An increased awareness of the prolificacy of threats such as identity theft, malicious code embedded in Web sites and increased exposure for users of broadband have translated into a 130 per cent increase in security software shipments in the last year. Shipments increased 7 per cent in February compared to January 2002.
The leading title in this sector is Symantec's Norton Internet Security package, which retails for an average price of $135 and currently accounts for 57 per cent of all Internet security software sold off retailers' shelves.
The antivirus software market also performed well in February, despite a monthly drop of 11 per cent, with shipments increasing 54 per cent year on year.