NPD: September Video Game Revenue Increased 10%

Sales of video games, hardware and accessories continued their months-long increase as industry revenue in September increased 10% to $4.3 billion, from $3.9 billion in the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group. Through nine months of the year, the video game market has increased 21% to $33.69 billion, from $27.84 billion at the same time last year.

Video game content spending increased 8% to $3.84 billion, from $3.55 billion. Year-to-date revenue is up 20% to $29.78 billion, from $24.98 billion.

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Accessories increased 30% to a record $191 million, from $46.9 million in the year-ago period. The segment was driven by sales of the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller. Consumer spending on accessories was up 26% to a record $1.6 billion, from $1.27 billion.

Finally, Marvel’s Avengers and Super Mario 3D All-Stars knocked off Madden NFL 21 as the top-selling game titles.


NPD: Pandemic, Delayed Amazon Prime Days Will Upend ‘Black Friday’ Retail Holiday

The traditional Black Friday weekend start of the holiday shopping season is in disarray this year, upended by the coronavirus pandemic and Amazon’s rescheduling of its Prime Days from the summer to October, The NPD Group said Oct. 9.

Amazon rescheduled its Prime Days to Oct. 13-14 — just 44 days before Black Friday on Nov. 27.

Last year, the Amazon Prime Days e-commerce sales extravaganza was the third-largest online shopping period, after Thanksgiving’s Black Friday and successive Cyber Monday retail events, according to The NPD Group.

This year’s delay to mid-October promises to significantly alter the winter retail landscape, say NPD analysts.

“Prime Days’ timing later in the year creates a pull to move aggressive holiday campaigns earlier, and opens the door for deals from retailers of all sizes,” Marshal Cohn, chief  industry advisor, retail, at NPD, said in a statement.

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Cohen said the infusion of Prime Days and other retail events into the holiday season is going to transform the balance of 2020 for consumers and retailers at all levels, in addition to industry analysts.

Stephen Baker, VP, industry advisor at NPD, says Prime Days is occurring at a time when most consumer electronics manufacturers will have already launched price discounts to jumpstart holiday shopping.

Baker said October is typically the weakest month of the year for technology sales, especially for premium technology items as manufacturers and retailers “re-merchandize and re-balance” older products for promotion while readying the newest technology for purchase. But with the pandemic, many CE manufacturers are delaying product launches.

“We are anticipating this to be among the biggest Octobers ever due to the need to elongate the holiday season and the lateness of some of the normal September product introductions (such as iPhones),” Baker said.

Indeed, Cohen contends Prime Days’ delay will further undermine consumer spending on Black Friday.

“Though it’s been evolving, don’t expect Black Friday to look at all like years past, and not just because of the consumer’s hesitancy to avoid crowds and their newfound fondness of shopping online,” Cohen said. “The infusion of Prime Days into the holiday season will play to this year’s emphasis on shopping early being better.”

NPD: Video Game Sales Jumped 37% in August

Video game sales remain on a roll with revenue from packaged media, digital, consoles and accessories up 37% in August to $3.33 billion, compared with $2.43 billion in the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group. Through eight months, sales are $29.38 billion, up 23% from $23.88 billion in the same period a year ago.

Video games, compared with other forms of home entertainment, have resonated strongly with consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. After nearly two years of downward revenue trends, sales of games and hardware jumped 73% and 52%, respectively, in April and May. That was followed by increases of 26% and 32%, respectively, in June and July.

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In the absence of new-generation consoles, Nintendo Switch again led all hardware sales, helping the segment generate a record monthly tally of more than $229 million, up 37% from $167.1 million last year. For the year, hardware sales are up 23% to $2 billion from $1.62 billion.

Software sales increased 37% to $2.94 billion from $2.14 billion. For the year, revenue is up 22% to $25.9 billion, compared with $21.23 billion last year. Not surprisingly, with the NFL season underway, the top-selling new title in August was EA Sports’ Madden NFL 21 — a distinction the brand has held for 21 years straight.

Accessories revenue skyrocketed 42% to a monthly record of $166 million — driven by Sony PS4 DualShock 4 Wireless Controller Black. For the year, revenue is up 26% to an all-time high of $1.4 billion from $1.11 billion last year.

NPD Expects 18% Increase in Winter Holiday CE Sales

In a year where consumer electronics and home technology have played a key role for house-bound families due to the coronavirus pandemic, new data from The NPD Group suggests fourth-quarter CE sales will increase 18% compared with the same period in 2019.

The second quarter of 2020 saw healthy gains in categories associated with learning and working from home, as consumers across the U.S. outfitted their home offices with the equipment needed to maintain productivity. Gains in home entertainment categories were notable as well, as consumers looked for ways to fill time while at home for an extended period. High growth categories included: notebook computers (+45%), tablets (37%), monitors (+84%), printers (+59%), and keyboards and mice (62%).

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“Sales of items we need to get through the school or workday took priority in the first half of this year, but as we head into Q4 and the holidays we expect many of these ‘needs’ will have been satisfied and consumers will begin to purchase items they consider to be ‘wants’ or gifts for the holiday season, such as TVs and noise-canceling headphones,” Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst, for The NPD Group, said in a statement.

Arnold said that while the typical Q4 shopping list won’t differ much from previous years, how consumers buy will, due to ongoing concerns regarding social distancing. According to NPD Checkout data, in Q2 e-commerce represented 69% of consumer technology sales, up from 48% during the same time last year, and that number is expected to remain above 60% moving forward. Additionally, buying online and picking up in-store accounted for about 25% of online tech sales in Q2, as consumers shifted to new ways of purchasing accelerated by COVID-19.

“Black Friday lines won’t disappear, but we expect lines of consumers waiting for store openings will be replaced by long queues of cars eagerly waiting for [online] purchases to be placed in their vehicle,” said Stephen Baker, VP, industry advisor for The NPD Group. “As we head into Q4 and into 2021, we’re forecasting technology sales will remain strong as the pandemic has renewed recognition of the critical value of technology in the modern lifestyle, sped-up product upgrade cycles and created larger installed bases that will benefit the industry moving forward.”

NPD: Online Video Consumption, Engagement Leapt in Q2

Free, transactional and subscription video all grew significantly in the second quarter versus the same period in 2019, according to NPD Group data.

The market experienced “growth across just about every way you can consume video,” said NPD’s John Buffone during the online OTT.X summit Sept. 1. (The summit continues today; to register click here.)

Transactional VOD alone jumped by 57%, while subscription VOD grew 42%, Buffone reported.

Sales of TVs and streaming players (“largely driven by Roku”) also grew by double digits during stay-at-home orders, he said, while sales of DVD and Blu-ray players also saw a jump in sales “for a while.”

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The most frequently used services in April 2020 (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, CBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video) are gaining the most ground, NPD research found. Among that group, 87% of Netflix subs said they use the service at least weekly, with 80% saying the same of Hulu, 70% of Disney+, 68% of CBS All Access and 64% of Amazon Prime. During April, 48% of Netflix subscribers said they were using it more often, compared to 57% of Disney+ subs, 42% of Hulu subs, 40% of CBS All Access subs and 39% of Amazon Prime subs.

A third of SVOD users said that exclusive content made them subscribe or watch more because content was not available any other way, he noted.

NPD: Weekly Consumer Tech Sales Up 34%

With increasing numbers of consumers spending time in the home due to the coronavirus pandemic, sales of consumer technology continues to boom.

New data from The NPD Group found record results continue in the consumer tech market with sales over $2.2 billion during the first week of August (the week ending Aug. 8), a 34% increase compared with the same week a year ago. Revenue during the month of July increased 18% over last year, even without the Prime Day shopping holiday.

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Return to school across all grades may be limited to in-home education and limited social gathering, but sales of productivity focused technology products have picked back up with PCs fueling much of the growth.

Notebook PC revenue growth in the U.S. was up 64% compared to same week last year. Beyond PCs, dollar sales of PC headsets (+127%), monitors (+97%) and routers (+87%) all increased as preparations for distance learning drove sales of a slightly altered set of products for back to school.

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Stephen Baker, VP and technology industry advisor at The NPD Group, said CE categories tied to home office solutions, organization, and school saw double- and triple-digit dollar sales increases at retail.

“Although [work from home] growth is beginning to level off,” Baker said in a media interview last month.

NPD: July Video Game Sales Increased 32%

Spurred by pending next-generation consoles and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, consumer video game spending in July increased 32% to 3.58 billion, from $2.71 billion during the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group. Year-to-date video game revenue is up 21% to $26.05 billion, from $21.52 billion a year ago.

Consumer spending on game content increased 34% to $3.25 billion, from $2.42 billion, with digital spending up 41%. Console sales dipped 2% to $166 million, from $169.4 million a year ago. Nintendo Switch again topped hardware sales. Console sales are up 22% to $1.8 billion from $1.47 billion last year.

Accessory sales (gamepads, headsets, headphones, etc.) spiked a record 34% to $170 million, from $126.8 million. Accessories sales were up 24% to a record $1.3 billion, from $1.05 billion a year ago.

NPD: Video Game Q2 Spending Hits Record High

Spurred by home-bound consumers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, video game sales of new titles, hardware and accessories during the second quarter (ended June 30) hit an all-time period high of more than $11.6 billion, which was up 30% from revenue of $8.92 billion, according to new data from The NPD Group.

Console sales, which include Nintendo Switch, increased 57% to $848 million from $540 million during the previous-year period. Accessory sales, which include gamepads, headsets, steering wheels and related items) increased 50% to $584 million, from $389 million.

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Software sales, which include physical, digital, PC content, mobile and subscription, increased 28% for the quarter to $10.2 billion, from $7.98 billion, with broad gains (including physical content, digital, mobile and subscription).

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NPD: June Video Game Sales Jumped 26%

The video game industry’s torrid sales streaks in April and May slowed a bit in June, reaching $1.2 billion, which was still up 26% from $952 million in sales in June 2019, according to new data from The NPD Group. Through the mid-year point, game sales top $6.6 billion — the highest tally since the same time period in 2010 — and up 19% from $5.54 billion in 2019.

After a three month surge, console sales dropped 17% to $191 million from $230 million last year as gamers await next edition units from Sony and Microsoft this winter. Through the half-year, hardware revenue is up 25% to $1.6 billion from $1.28 billion last year. Nintendo Switch again led all platforms in unit and dollar sales.

Sales of game accessories and game cards jumped 29% to $417 million from  $323 million last year. The top-selling accessory was the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller. Year-to-date accessory sales are up 15% to $2 billion from $1.74 billion.

Finally, software sales skyrocketed 49% to $570 million from $382.5 million — driven in part by the launch of Sony’s The Last of Us: Part II. NPD game analyst Mat Piscatella, in a post on Twitter, said Sony’s release topped Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

NPD: May Video Game Sales Skyrocket 52% as Pandemic Spurs Consumption

Pandemic-driven housebound consumers love to play video games. New data from The NPD Group found that total sales of hardware, software and accessories increased 52% to $997 million, compared with $643 million in the previous-year period. It was the third-consecutive month of growth following nearly two years of steady declines.

Year-to-date sales are up 18% to $5.5 billion from 2019, and the best five-month period since 2011. Hardware sales shot up 56% to $235 million, while accessories and game cards revenue increased 32% to $304 million. Software sales burgeoned 67% to $438 million.

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“This is the highest tracked spend for a May month since the $1.2 billion achieved in May 2008,” analyst Mat Piscatella wrote in a Tweet.

Nintendo Switch again led all hardware manufacturer with unit sales the best for an individual platform in May since sales of the Nintendo DS in 2009, according to NPD. Accessories/game cards sales increased 32% and are up 12% for the year. The best-selling accessory was the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller.

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