Thursday, July 27, 2017

Physical entertainment retail continues to decline unabated

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The state of the physical entertainment market as a whole continued to decline in the last quarter, the latest data suggests.

According to Kantar Worldpanel’s Entertainment Retail Barometer, for the 12 weeks to March 12 sales of physical games purchases grew by 0.5 per cent year-on-year, boosted by the release of Nintendo’s Switch.

However, this is in contrast to music, which fell by five per cent, and video which endured a sales decline of 13 per cent.

This mixed picture for physical entertainment means an overall decline of seven per cent across the combined three markets and a loss of 1.3 million shoppers year-on-year as digital and streaming services make further inroads with consumers.

Meanwhile, Amazon continues to be dominate the market share of entertainment sales, with 17.8 per cent of the market share in the last quarter compared to 20.5 per cent the same time in 2016.

On the other hand, Argos and Game experienced the biggest gains of any retailer over the past 12 weeks, 2.3 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, achieving their highest first quarter market share in over five years.

“A strong slate of new releases helped gaming maintain growth during the first quarter of 2017, with [Nintendo’s] Zelda: Breath of the Wild and [PlayStation 4’s] Horizon Zero Dawn proving particularly popular,” Kantar Worldpanel consumer insight director James Brown said.


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Brown added: “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 physical music sales have fallen, recent releases suggest a brighter outlook for the coming months.

“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,” Brown said.

“In fact, her impact was such that taking Adele’s album sales out of the equation would actually see the market in two per cent growth year-on-year.

“Amazon and Tesco felt the decline most keenly as sales fall by 18 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

“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.”

Like music, video was feeling the effect of a lack of blockbusters to rival last year’s releases.

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,” Brown said.

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