Microsoft and its partners obviously want (and need) Windows 8 to be a success. But apparently the launch hasn’t helped boost PC sales… yet. In fact, sales are down 25% overall from the same time period last year, according to new research from NPD. Desktop sales fell 9% while notebook sales, surprisingly, fell 24%.

“After just four weeks on the market, it’s still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market,” said NPD vice president of industry analysis Stephen Baker said.  “We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for.”

Windows 7 had 83% of all computing device sales in the four weeks after it launched, by comparison, Windows 8 grabbed just 58% of all PC sales.

Ouch.

Hopefully Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet can help boost those sales, but at its high price point we’re not so sure. Thankfully sales of Windows 8 licenses appear to be doing quite well.

Windows 8 Gets Off to a Slow Start, According to The NPD Group

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 29, 2012 - The consumer Windows PC and tablet market* didn’t get the boost it needed from the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 in the U.S.  Since the Windows 8 launch on October 26, Windows device sales have fallen 21 percent versus the same period last year**, according to leading market research company The NPD Group’s Weekly Tracking Service***.  Notebooks, which have been weak throughout most of 2012, saw that trend continue as they fell 24 percent. Desktop sales have fared better this year, dropping just 9 percent.

“After just four weeks on the market, it’s still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.  “We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for.”

Since its launch, Windows 8 has  captured just over half (58 percent) of Windows computing device unit sales, compared to the 83 percent Windows 7 accounted for four weeks after that launch. Windows 8 tablet sales have been almost non-existent, with unit sales representing less than 1 percent of all Windows 8 device sales to date.

“The bad Back-to-School period left a lot of inventory in the channel, which had a real impact on the initial sell-through rates for Windows 8,” said Baker. “The strong performance of Windows 8 notebooks with touchscreens, where Windows 8 truly shines, offers some reason for optimism.  These products accounted for 6 percent of Windows 8 notebook sales at an average price of $867 helping to re-establish a premium segment to the Windows consumer notebook market.”

Average selling prices of Windows computing devices have jumped significantly this year.  Last year, overall ASP was $433 while this year’s ASP over the past four weeks has risen to $477.  Windows 8 notebooks have seen a nearly $80 rise in selling prices versus the prior year,  propelled  by the aforementioned strong performance of touchscreen devices and a solid uptick in the pricing on mainstream notebooks.  Windows 8 desktop ASPs were also strong with selling prices up nearly 10 percent, driven by the same factors as notebook sales.

*Excludes sales of Microsoft Surface

**Windows 8 initial four week launch sales include the time period of October 21 – November 17, 2012.

***NPD’s weekly POS information is derived from a subset panel of retailers that also contribute to NPD’s projected monthly POS panel.