Business software vendors have been left wondering how low the market can go, following four consecutive months of downhill sales in the retail channel.
Inform reports the business software market in April reached the lowest level since the market analyst began measuring sales in the Australian retail channel from 1999. Shipments for the month were 50 per cent lower than April last year. Software shipments were down by 35 per cent over March across both market and value software titles.
Productivity software is usually the healthiest sector of the market, making up around half of business software sales. However in April it was hit by a 40 per cent downturn. Network Associates was the hardest hit by the slowdown. Its sales were down by 67 per cent in April according to Inform figures, slashing its market share from 18 to just 10 per cent.
On the other hand, Trend Micro was able to capitalise during a slow month. Its PC-Cillin 2000 software grabbed the number two position behind Symantec Norton Antivirus 2001, helping the vendor increase its market share in the segment by around 10 per cent.
The imminent launch of Microsoft Office XP hardly dented the software giant's standing in the market. The company also managed to increase market share despite slowing Office 2000 sales.
Creativity software also suffered - down 30 per cent on March and 62 per cent on April 2000 figures. Mattel Interactive remains number one in the sector, gaining slightly on Microsoft's creativity software sales.
Development software also suffered extensively, almost halving in April. Although there was little movement in the top publishers' positions, 46 per cent less units were sold than in March and 65 per cent less than in April last year.
Inform reports the healthiest looking segment was the financial software market, although it too was down 25 per cent on March shipments. Quicken remained ahead of rival MYOB for overall sales, but the companies are still slugging it out in the small business category - MYOB winning by just 18 units.
Microsoft creativity software.