Windows 8 notebooks aren't selling partly due to price

Touchscreen notebooks average about $700 and accounted for only 4.5 percent of Windows 8 sales

Windows 8 notebooks apparently didn't create a lot of cheer around the Christmas tree this holiday season.

Market research firm NPD says while shoppers started off strong, their purchasing dropped off throughout the rest of the season for an overall sales decline of 7 percent compared with 2011. The firm blames Windows 8, in part.

"Despite the hype, and hope, around the launch of Windows 8, the new operating system did little to boost holiday sales or improve the year-long Windows notebook sales decline," NPD said in a statement Friday.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based firm said Windows notebook holiday unit sales dropped 11 percent, on par with Black Friday, and similar to the yearly trend, but revenue trends weakened since Black Friday to end the holiday period down 10.5 percent.

The average sale price of touchscreen notebooks was about $700 and accounted for only 4.5 percent of Windows 8 sales -- a disappointment for Microsoft and its partners, considering the operating system is optimized for touch.

"It's not pat to say that the Windows PC market went for volume over quality, because it did: Many of those 20 million Windows 7 licenses each month -- too many, I think -- went to machines that are basically throwaway, plastic crap. Netbooks didn't just rejuvenate the market just as Windows 7 appeared, they also destroyed it from within: Now consumers expect to pay next to nothing for a Windows PC. Most of them simply refuse to pay for more expensive Windows PCs," Thurrot writes.

One thing that's working against this trend is that people are willing to pay a bit more for a decent full-sized tablet, namely the iPad and its competitors, including Microsoft's own Surface. But that's a different form factor.

As for laptops themselves, ideally people who want to get the most out of Windows 8 will ante up for a more expensive touch-capable machine. But will they?

"Years of relying on cheap netbook sales to bolster the shaky PC market have colored our perception of both Windows and the hardware on which it runs. For Windows 8 to succeed -- reach or exceed that 20 million licenses per month figure -- the average selling price of touch-based PCs and devices is going to have to come down," Thurrott writes.

More numbers may support this view.

At the end of December, web measurement company Net Applications released numbers that showed Windows 8's usage uptake had slipped behind Vista'sat the same point in its release.

Even so, expect to see Windows 8 devices everywhere at CES this week .

Perhaps all the visibility and press that comes from the huge electronics trade show in Las Vegas will chip away at what appears to be an entrenched budget-minded consumer mentality.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftoperating systemssoftwareWindowsWindows 8

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Christina DesMarais

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?