Paul Thurrott wrote a pretty impressive piece on his Supersite giving a very compelling theory about why Windows 8 has sold poorly over the previous holiday season.
In a beautifully written piece called “Explaining Windows 8 PC Sales Over the Holidays” he lays out this central theory – because of the Netbook and it’s low pricing, consumers have been conditioned to expect Windows hardware at the cheapest possible prices.
He alludes to data published by NPD about the past holiday shopping season which concluded:
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. 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. ASPs rose only $2 to $420. Touchscreen notebooks were 4.5 percent of Windows 8 sales with ASPs around $700. Sales of Windows notebooks under $500 fell by 16 percent while notebooks priced above $500 increased 4 percent. Macbook sales dropped 6 percent while the ASPs rose almost $100 to $1419.
Paul says the following:
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.
He also says that:
In a privately distributed report, NPD concludes that “netbooks did an incalculable amount of damage to the PC market,” driving average selling prices down at an unsustainable rate.
So here’s what I got from Paul’s piece:
Because consumers were sold very cheap net books as Windows devices in the past, there is now a somewhat permanent association with low prices for Microsoft Windows products.
To that end, now consumers are conditioned to see PC’s as low cost devices and will not pay more for them.
Makes sense when you look at the data.
I asked around to get a little more feedback on the question of poor Windows 8 holiday sales.