Software sales still sliding

Business software continues to look decidedly unhealthy -- down 22 per cent on August figures, according to the latest figures from analyst Inform.

But the market is still reeling from bumper pre-GST sales. The seemingly continuous downward spiral in financial software sales is only 3 per cent lower than January figures and clearer skies are ahead, according to the market analyst.

"I think we are going to see a pickup next month," predicted analyst Phil Burnham. "Sales have taken a tumble, and a lot of retailers panicked, but at the end of the day people are going to have to buy software. We expect a full recovery by the end of the year."

The figures represent a larger-than-expected slump in a month which was dominated by Olympic fever and is notorious for slow sales in any case. Sales in financial software were down 87 per cent on June figures.

"That indicates the size of June's market -- it was absolutely huge," Burnham said. "The goldrush is finished, but I am sure retailers realised it would not last."

Inform predicts sales to rise as companies try to figure out their business activities statement and the upgrade cycle begins to have an effect.

"Now the vendors have established a user base, they can make money on upgrades in the future."

Sales in productivity software drop 19 per cent in September, largely from Filemaker Pro 2.1's weak performance. Its shipments fell by more than 1200 units during the month, eliminating the title from the top 50 list.

The antivirus software market remained stable, dropping 3 per cent over August figures.