Insight: tough quarter for physical entertainment market
New figures on the physical entertainment market have revealed a tough fourth quarter with a decline of 7.8% across music, video and gaming in the 12 weeks to 18 December.
The data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that music and video sales dropped by 11% and 12% respectively, while gaming sales fell by 2.7%.
Fiona Keenan, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The music market needs platinum selling albums to sustain its performance. Albums like Adele’s 25 can be worth more than 10% of the market in one quarter alone and with no major albums this period, music sales have taken a hit. There’s already a lot of hype around Ed Sheeran’s upcoming album release in March so we can expect a clear boost to the market.”
Keenan said the increasing popularity of digital entertainment products is making it more difficult for retailers to maintain the relevance and excitement of giving physical entertainment products as gifts. According to Kantar over one million fewer shoppers purchased physical music or video as gifts this quarter, equating to around £31 million lost.
She added: “This Christmas was the first in five years not to feature an artist album in the top 10 most popular gifts. FIFA 17 topped the present charts this year – two places higher than its predecessor FIFA 16, which only achieved third place in 2015. Games took three out of the top five spots with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1 joining the ranks as animations dominated in video, led by Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory and The BFG.”
The figures reveal that Argos saw the biggest gains during the period, increasing its market share by 2.8 percentage points to 9.9%. This was mainly due to its 19.1% share of the games market. The retailer took over a quarter of gift sales in November and December to push this figure higher than any point in the past five years.
Keenan said: “Having its outlets in Sainsbury’s stores will allow Argos to appeal to a much broader range of consumers among all entertainment markets, particularly in gaming. At the moment the majority of its games sales are to under-35s, and only 6% of Argos and Sainsbury’s gaming consumers buy across both stores, so its growing concession presence should put it in a good position to increase share again this year.”
Zavvi was another strong performer in the period and increased its value sales despite the deep declines in the wider market.
Looking at supermarkets, which traditionally perform less well in entertainment over the festive period, Kantar said Tesco and Asda fared best. In gaming, Tesco’s share of 14.3% was enough to move it ahead of Amazon – the first time it has led the online giant over Christmas since 2012. Meanwhile, Asda made gains in games and video following two years of declining fourth quarter share.
Keenan added: “The increasing competition in gaming has had repercussions for GAME, which suffered the biggest market share decline of any major retailer this quarter. While it continues to lead in games, it now only holds 27.4% of the market – down from 32.3% and the lowest it’s been since 2014. March’s Nintendo Switch launch will be critical for GAME if it is to regain its losses but it will continue to face strong competition from Argos, currently the number one retailer for Nintendo games.”
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