Video games gave the high street a welcome boost in the run up to Christmas, the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows.
For the 12 weeks ending 20 December 2015, the games market remained in decline, down 3.5% year-on-year, but performed well ahead of the total physical entertainment market, which declined by 11.6%. Bricks and mortar stores took 68% of spend on physical entertainment in the period, up from 62% last year.
It was only the success of Adele’s latest album that was enough to compete with games’ performance, with 25 coming out on top as the most popular physical entertainment title over the festive trading period. Its absence from streaming services encouraged even more customers to buy the CD as a gift.
Next generation games, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, have been the primary driving force behind the slowing decline for the games sector, bringing £100m to the market and an additional 1.5m shoppers year on year.
“Although the games market saw a spike immediately following the PS4 and Xbox One launches in late 2013, it has taken a couple of years for console ownership to become more widespread,” explains Fiona Keenan, Strategic Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel. “It’s really only in the final quarter of 2015 that this has resulted in significant gains for both the market and retailers, as gamers increase their spending. Gifting of these products has also jumped as a result, up by just over 40% on last year.”
“The high street physical entertainment market has really been able to monopolise on the opportunity provided by new generation products – GAME has hit its highest entertainment market share in five years, while Tesco and Argos have both hit peak fourth quarter shares in the same period,” adds Keenan.
“Even though Xbox One and PS4 are now well established, for those who don’t own a console themselves buying games remains a relatively confusing prospect. GAME and Tesco took 51% of next generation gift sales compared with 46% in the final quarter of 2014, showing that shoppers are keen to get face-to-face advice before they make a purchase. This is a great opportunity for the likes of GAME, which can offer the expert help and advice that online retailers can’t.”
Amazon has maintained its share of both video and music sales from last year, but losing out on games spend to the high street has reduced the retailer’s overall share of the market by over 3%, to 20.7%.”