The software market has started the financial year with a fizz. Analyst Inform's latest retail figures show that July shipments fell across all software areas, with the productivity sector being the hardest hit, dropping 25 per cent from June.
Despite this expected monthly drop, the software market has improved on last year's performance, with the total market increasing 8 per cent on July 2001 figures. Productivity sales increased a whopping 40 per cent.
The annual growth rates remain an encouraging sign for retailers and vendors alike.
Propelled by the launch of the XP family last year, Microsoft has been the main factor behind the growth in office suites and operating systems, as these genres experienced yearly increases of 86 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.
Antivirus and Internet security sectors have also experienced increases in sales, which can be largely attributed to the increased public exposure given to viruses and IT security in the media, and heightened awareness of the dangers of Internet and e-mail use. Compared to the same period last year, July 2002 saw sales of antivirus software climb by 59 per cent and Internet security software shipments rise by 51 per cent.
July's antivirus market was dominated by three publishers, which accounted for 98 per cent of sales. Symantec led the pack with a 60 per cent market share generated by its Norton Antivirus software, while McAfee and Trend Micro were neck and neck with 19 per cent each.