Research firm NPD Group has released a report this week that indicates consumers aren't buying boxed software online anymore. Digital downloads made up over 66 percent of the total online software purchases in 2009, which is up just a little from last year.
NPD broke the numbers down into new purchases, software subscription rentals and trial-to-paid conversions, among other categories. The largest of online software purchasing was in subscription renewals, at 34 percent, with new purchases coming in at 23 percent and trial-to-paid at 8 percent.
A large reason subscription renewals were down this year can be attributed to consumers not trusting online merchants as much as they have in the past. Over 40 percent of those surveryed said they did not renew specifically because of spam of unsolicited offers from merchants or their affiliates, while 5 percent said they did not renew because they felt the merchant would not renew their service correctly. 33 percent were misinformed, however, and stated they did not trust merchants with their credit card information, even though merchants have this information at one point or another prior to renewal.
Trial-to-paid conversions were up two percent over last year, mainly due to how users attained the trial. In 2009, 75 percent of users downloaded the software themselves, where this year only 61 percent did the same. Strangely enough, a large group of consumers found the software either because it came on their computers or because it arrived in the mail. It feels like we're back in the 90s.
NPD's report isn't too shocking, however. People are used to purchasing things on the Internet now, so having a digital download of a software is much more convenient to consumers, not to mention it being cheaper for retailers. Why wait for something to be shipped to your house when you can immediately download it on a highspeed connection and burn it to a DVD or CD later? Adobe has even gone as far to offer some of their more expensive software, like Lightroom, on a trial basis. Have you succumb to the trial or digital download craze? Comment us and tell us about it!