The worldwide market for consumer software generated about $US5.5 billion dollars in revenue in 1997, an increase of 15.3% over the previous year, according to preliminary findings reported today by market research firm International Data (IDC).
The largest growth was in home education and "edutainment" software, which generated about $1.5 billion in sales, an increase of 17.1% over the previous year's sales, IDC's preliminary findings suggest.
Games and entertainment products continued to entice the most dollars, drawing $2.7 billion, or about 49% of consumer software spending. Sales for that segment were up 15.3% over the previous year, driven in large part by strong demand for graphics-intensive games, according to IDC.
Home productivity software, represented in large part by home finance software, grew the least, but still saw sales increase 13.4 percent over 1996, to $1.3 billion. This market is typically stable, but its growth rate may increase in 1998, driven by products such as cooking and travel software, IDC said.
Pricing for consumer software of all types has stabilized despite the competition offered by free Internet products, IDC said. IDC anticipates that consumers will continue to be prepared to pay for quality titles in 1998.
Among the report's other highlights for 1998:
-- The Internet will remain primarily an important means of information dissemination, while at the same time evolve in terms of infrastructure;
-- Windows 98 will be a boon for existing consumer software titles because it will increase performance without requiring a code change.
A full copy of the bulletin, entitled "The 1997 Preliminary Consumer Software Market in Review", can be purchased by contacting IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts, at +1-508-935-4389. IDC's Web site is at http://www.idc.com/.