Slow holiday software sales may have left a bad taste in some retailers' mouths, but overall in 1996, consumer software sales were up.
The worldwide PC consumer software market expanded 16 percent to $4.5 billion, according to a preliminary report by International Data Corporation (IDC) called the 1996 Preliminary Consumer Software Market Year in Review.
"End users continued to incorporate computing into their personal lives, driving steady growth across the three major consumer segments: games and entertainment, education and edutainment, and home productivity," said Mary Loffredo Wareley, consumer software research manager at IDC in a statement.
One segment of the consumer market outstripped the others.
The games and entertainment market accounts for almost half of the total marketshare, and during the year, it shot up 17.6 percent to $2.17 billion in sales. The category includes adventure games, role playing, simulation, and any software focused on a scoring function relating to a win or lose situation, said IDC marketing manager Tony Membrino.
The market's other two segments each hold about 25 percent of the marketshare. But IDC said that a shift is set for 1997, as distributors diversify their product lines and vendors tune into the expanding market of online sales.
Schools will also have an impact as their budgets allocate additional funds for educational and edutainment software, said IDC.
Consumer software includes resume writers programs, tax preparation software, home finance software, reference works, and home design software, said Membrino.