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Survey: most people know about Vista but few intend to upgrade

While most online computers users are aware of Microsoft’s Windows Vista, few are intending to switch over to the new operating system anytime soon, according to a recent Harris Poll. 

The Harris Poll of 2223 US online adults in early March found that 87% were aware of Vista. Unfortunately for Microsoft, only 12% of Vista-aware respondents were intending to upgrade to Vista in the next 12 months.

The poll revealed that 39% of those intending to move over to Vista planned to upgrade their existing computer so it would meet Vista requirements, 35% planned to buy a new computer with Vista preinstalled, 17% planned to purchase a new “Vista-ready” computer, and 8% said that they would install Vista on their existing computer without any upgrade.

A similar Harris Poll in December 2006, just one month before Vista’s consumer launch, found that 47% of those online were aware of Vista, and that 20% intended to upgrade in the coming year.

It seems that while Microsoft’s “Wow Starts Now” marketing campaign has boosted awareness of Vista, it hasn’t substantially increased the total number of people planning to upgrade.

The survey does indicate, however, that the release of the new operating system has affected the timing of the purchase of a new computer for 40% of the respondents who were aware of Vista: one in five said they had delayed the purchase of a new computer, and one in five said they would bring forward the purchase of a new computer.

According to Milton Ellis, Vice President of Harris Interactive’s Technology Group, said Microsoft has some way to go to convert the awareness of Vista into sales.

“In order to generate that ‘WOW’ factor, Microsoft will have to put forth a value proposition that will move the majority to the upgrade category in the years ahead. Vista promised better performance, reliability, security, and a revolutionary user interface - but it appears consumers looking to upgrade are not ready to buy into the promise whereas new computer buyers will want the latest and greatest,” said Ellis. 

“Microsoft has faced this challenge before with operating system upgrades. Consumers tend to wait until a few service packs have been released to fix real or perceived problems. No doubt, Microsoft understands these issues and will proceed accordingly.”