Insight: gaming back in growth despite shopper number decline
New figures on the physical entertainment market have found that the gaming sector experienced positive growth for first time since October 2016 in the 12 weeks to 12 March.
According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, sales of physical games grew by 0.5% year-on-year in contrast to music sales, which fell by 5%. Video sales were also down, falling by 13%.
The mixed picture for market means there was an overall decline of 7% across the combined three markets and a loss of 1.3 million shoppers year-on-year as digital and streaming services made further inroads with consumers.
James Brown, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, explained: “A strong slate of new releases helped gaming maintain growth during the first quarter of 2017, with Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn proving particularly popular. Argos and GAME experienced the biggest gains of any retailer over the past 12 weeks as a result, both achieving their highest first quarter market share in over five years. GAME in particular had great success with games sold alongside consoles as part of a bundle; while sales of single games were flat year on year, bundles saw double digit growth.”
While overall physical music sales dropped, recent releases suggest a brighter outlook for the coming months.
Brown continued: “Music – which relies heavily on big hits to boost sales – has been strongly affected as the market feels the lack of a platinum-selling album to rival Adele’s 25, which was still selling well this time last year.
“Although it was released late in the period, Ed Sheeran’s Divide has already had a positive impact for physical music, contributing almost twice as much as its nearest competitor – Rag‘n’Bone Man’s Human. The full force of Ed Sheeran’s star power is likely to be seen in the second quarter of 2017 but retailers should remain conscious that this could end up being only a temporary boost to sales.”
While albums on sale for £15 and under struggled, more premium offerings experienced double digit growth.
The video category also felt the effect of a lack of blockbusters to rival last year’s releases. Brown added: “Spectre’s strong performance in 2016 has not been replicated by any titles during the past 12 weeks, with the quarter’s biggest success – Bridget Jones’ Baby – only bringing in around a third as many sales as Spectre during the equivalent period in 2016. Tesco was the stand out retailer in video, winning market share from Amazon and HMV to hold 17.2% of the market.”
However, Kantar said the video market is experiencing strong growth is among older consumers who accounted for 18% of video sales during the 12 weeks. This was the highest market share ever recorded by this demographic during the first quarter of the year.
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