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NPD: Windows 8 fails to reverse declining PC notebook sales during holiday season

NPD: Windows 8 fails to reverse declining PC notebook sales during holiday season

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According to NPD Group, Windows 8 didn't prove to be enough of a draw over the holiday buying period to prop up a struggling PC notebook economy. Sales of Windows machines among consumers were reportedly down 11 percent year-over-year compared to where the market stood in 2011 — even after the high profile launch of Redmond's latest operating system on October 26th. The research company collected sales data from Best Buy, Walmart, and a number of online retailers for its somber assessment.

Stephen Baker, NPD's VP of industry analysis, put it succinctly by saying the young OS “did little to boost holiday sales or improve the year-long Windows notebook sales decline." And despite Windows 8's touch-oriented nature, touchscreen notebooks accounted for just 4.5 percent of overall Windows 8 sales during the holiday period. Unfortunately, NPD's data doesn't factor in sales of Microsoft's flagship Surface tablet, which initially was available only via the company's website and namesake retail stores before distribution expanded in early December. And sales of all-in-ones, another form factor that suits Windows 8's strengths, obviously aren't being accounted for here.

Surging tablet sales and a bleak economy slow Windows 8 adoption

Back in October, Microsoft announced that it had sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses, with both consumers and its own hardware partners included in that figure. Since then, some of those very manufacturers have blamed weak demand of the revamped Windows OS for disappointing sales. But laptop manufacturers aren't alone in their concerns: according to Baker, the entire consumer electronics industry is in uncertain times thanks to a fragile economy and consumers that have proven hesitant to make high-dollar purchases. "The inability of the CE market to find substantial new pockets of revenue looms menacingly over the industry’s future," he said. We've reached out to Baker for additional commentary on current PC trends and will update this article should he respond.