A study released Thursday by the NPD Group showed that consumers who purchase software online feel comfortable downloading it for their own use, rather than ordering a physical disc.
PCWorld - Almost two-thirds of all online software purchases were made by consumers who then downloaded software, NPD found, citing a survey of 4,000 users who were polled earlier this year. Fifty-three percent of those purchasing a so-called "system utilities" product did so online.
Online digital downloads of new products accounted for 23 percent of online purchases, up from 22 percent in 2009, NPD found. Online subscription renewals accounted for 34 percent, down one percentage point from 2009, and trial-to-paid conversions were 8 percent of sales, up from 6 percent in 2009.
As NPD previously found, the vast majority of online software purchases are consumers either signing up for or renewing security software, which require annual subscriptions. And that's as companies like Symantec are moving their security products beyond the PC and onto phones and other connected devices.
"More than half of consumers say they would rather update their annual software subscriptions by renewing online and the experience has been overwhelming[ly] easy for them," NPD said in a statement.
But the reason to not renew? Spam. Only 5 percent of consumers trusted the merchant to automatically renew the subscription for them, the analyst firm found, with about 40 percent reporting that they didn't believe that the company wouldn't send them unsolicited email -- one of the types of malware and annoyances most security suites are designed to block.