Microsoft Windows 7, Apple Refreshes, Spur Desktop Comeback

Desktops are making a major comeback in 2010, thanks in part to adoption of Microsoft's Windows 7, new Apple iMacs and stabilizing selling prices, says a new report from NPD. In February, desktop sales rose 30 percent.

Desktops are making a comeback.
After nearly 10 rocky years of losing sales to mobile PCs, the retail desktop market is soaring, according to a March 18 report from NPD Group.
In February, sales of desktop units increased 30 percent, while dollars year-over-year increased by 33 percent, states the report. February additionally marked the third time in the last four months that desktop revenue grew faster than notebook revenue, as well as the fifth month in a row that saw a rise in both desktop revenue and units.
"Desktops have been the surprise consumer technology growth category of 2010," Stephen Baker, an NPD vice president, said in a statement. "Desktop growth has come from both PCs and Macs. Windows 7 has been propelling the PC side of the market where desktop ASPs have been higher than notebook/netbook ASPs in three of the last four months."
Through a recession-gripped 2009, PC makers such as Dell were banking on enterprises to begin refreshing older products with new machines running Windows 7, which Microsoft introduced Oct. 22, 2009. Gartner also expected a boost from Windows 7, though it cautioned that this might not happen until the second half of 2010. Lucky for PC makers, the turnaround arrived sooner, and NPD reports that Windows desktops saw a 15 percent rise in units and an 8 percent increase in dollars since late October.
"This increase, while modest, is a positive trend, considering that prior to the introduction of Windows 7, desktop sales declined 21 out of 22 months," states the report.
Along with Microsoft, Apple also did its share. "We are also seeing tremendous growth numbers from the iMac after a few lackluster quarters from Apple," wrote Baker.
Additionally contributing was an end to eroding ASPs (average selling prices), NPD reported.
"In three of the four months since Windows 7 launched, desktop ASPs have been higher than notebook [ASPs]," Baker wrote in a March 16 entry on the NPD Group Blog. "The average desktop sale above $750 was more likely to see add-on purchases than a comparable notebook, and the average desktop sale generated substantially more additional revenue beyond the initial desktop purchase, compared to the notebook."
All in all, Microsoft's and Apple's refreshes have helped to reinvigorate the market, which is headed onward and upward.
"With solid ASPs, better demand, and a strong upgrade path, we believe that 2010 is likely to see the best growth rates for consumer desktops in years," Baker wrote.