Vista delivers: U.S. PC retail sales jump 67%

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Vista delivers: U.S. PC retail sales jump 67%

San Diego (CA) – We may not have seen tent cities forming in from of Best Buy in the week before the launch of Windows Vista, but first market reports indicate that the operating system made a huge splash in U.S. retail. Compared to the same week of 2006, PC unit numbers were up more than 60%, revenue surged more than 50%.

The PC industry has seen growth around 10% over the past year, what appears to be solid, but substantially less than in previous years. Some analysts had mentioned that one of the reasons for sagging growth could have been the wait for Vista and consumers that were putting off new purchases until the availability of the new operating system. Current Analysis appears to be offering the first evidence for this thesis, at least for the consumer market.

The research firm said that overall unit sales for the week ending February 3, 2007, jumped 173% when compared to the previous week and increased 67% year-over-year.  However, the numbers are overemphasized due to a reduced amount of inventory in the week preceding the Vista launch, as retailers cleared out the Windows XP supply for Vista. Some retailers such as Best Buy even chose to completely remove all XP computers from their shelves during the days before the introduction of the operating system.

The launch of Vista also paid off in dollar terms for retailers. Compared to the same week in 2006, revenues increased by 54.4%, Current Analysis estimates.

Despite its considerable price, Vista Home Premium is emerging as the volume version of Windows Vista. The Aero Glass-enabled version accounted for 70% of all Vista sales during the first week, with Vista Basic holding a share of about 22%. Interestingly, the Vista Premium share was higher on the notebook than on the desktop: Current Analysis said that 76% of notebooks ran with the more expensive version (Basic: 16%), while 59% of desktops came with Vista Premium (Basic: 33%). The average Vista basic notebook was priced at $616, a Vista Premium notebook was priced around $863.

According to the market research firm, HP was the most aggressive OEM of the Windows Vista introduction, accounting for a 54% share of Vista Home Premium sales and a 53% of Vista Home Basic unit sales.  The week prior to the introduction of Vista, HP represented only 33% of all PC retail unit sales.