NPD: December Video Game Revenue Skyrocketed 25%; Yearly Revenue Reached Record $57 Billion

The pandemic and new game systems helped drive December video game revenue to $7.7 billion, up 25% from $6.1 billion during the previous-year period. 2020 also set an all-time high in revenue with $56.9 billion, an increase of 27% from $44.3 billion in 2019, according to new data from The NPD Group.

The November launches of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S consoles contributed to hardware revenue jumping 38% to $1.35 billion from $978 million last year — the highest hard ware sales in eight years. The tally almost equaled $1.41 billion in hardware sales in 2019.

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While Sony and Microsoft hardware get the headlines, it was Nintendo’s Switch that quietly proved to be the best hardware seller throughout 2020 when it comes to unit sales and revenue. NPD said 2020 Switch sales were the best for a hardware device since the Nintendo Wii in 2008.

Accessories revenue spiked 15% to $546 million from $475 million last year. Accessories totaled $2.6 billion in 2020, up 21% from $2.14 billion in 2019. Sony’s DualSense Wireless Controller was the best-selling gamepad, while Turtle Beach’s Ear Force Recon 70 Gaming Headset Black for Xbox was the best-selling headgear.

Software sales in December rose 23% to $5.8 billion from $4.71 billion in 2019. Full-year sales jumped 26% to $48.98 billion, compared with $38.8 billion a year ago.

The top-selling title in December and 2020 was Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Activision), followed by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

 

Samsung, Roku, Sonos Among Top Brands in NPD’s Consumer Electronics Awards

The NPD Group’s technology division announced the winners of its annual Consumer Electronics Industry Performance Awards, honoring Samsung for its LCD TVs, Sonos for its soundbars and Roku for its streaming media player, among other companies.

Among the top increases in market share in North America, Samsung took the top prize for LCD TVs. Among the fastest-turning brands per item in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Sonos was the top U.S. soundbar. And among the top increases in online market share in the United States, Roku was the top streaming media player.

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“After an unprecedented year, we at NPD are excited to take a moment to acknowledge the many silver linings the consumer technology market experienced in the midst of the pandemic,” Ian Hamilton, president, technology sector, The NPD Group, said in a statement. “In this fifth year of our CE Industry Performance Awards we are recognizing brands that saw success providing consumers with products that enabled them to work and learn from home, as well as stay entertained and connected in their downtime. Congratulations to all award winners — we wish everyone a healthy and successful 2021.”

NPD: Domestic TV Installed Base Getting Bigger, Newer

Few things can drive television purchases and screen size upgrades more than a pandemic. That trend emerges in new data from The NPD Group that found in the last several years American TV screens have been getting bigger. Among installed TVs, 15% are 60 inches or larger, up from 11% a year ago — and newer — the average unit age is 4.9 years old, down from 5.4 years in 2019.

According to NPD’s TV Ownership Trends Report, the average size of a replacement TV jumped to 51 inches from 49 inches in November 2019, and up from 47 inches in November 2018.

“This year home entertainment became even more crucial as consumers spent more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” analyst John Buffone said in a statement. “TV sales, among other tech items, saw strong interest and as a result we saw notable shifts in the installed base.”

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Buffone attributed the surge in TV purchases to consumers housebound without the ability to go to the movies or live entertainment, including sports.

“Americans shifted spending to technology that offered at-home opportunities to consume content,” said.

In 2020 year to date, TV sales are up 19% compared with the same period in 2019. Through Cyber Monday week, 65-inch TV sales increased 27% versus 2019, while 70-inch and above TVs increased by 82%. In total, 65-inch and above TVs made up 21% of sales, increasing from 18% in 2019 and 13% in 2018. NPD projects that by 2022, 65-inch and above TVs will be 27% of sales.

While screen size is a key motivator, features such as high-dynamic-range imaging (HDR) and apps are continuing to matter more as consumers consider replacement purchases. In fact, HDR now impacts 13% of replacement TV sales and the availability of apps reportedly impact 31% of replacement TV sales, up from 23% a year ago.

“This year consumers saw the value in bigger screens and newer, more modern technology to support their entertainment needs,” said Stephen Baker, VP and industry advisor for The NPD Group. “This commitment to new technology and the value it can provide to the consumer will be key for the continued growth in larger-screen TVs in 2021 and beyond.”

NPD: New Consoles Drive 35% Increase in November Consumer Video Game Spending

Spurred by a record $1.4 billion in hardware spending on new-generation consoles, November video game spending increased 35% to a record $6.97 billion, according to new data from The NPD Group. Sales of Microsoft Xbox Series X and Series S units, coupled with PlayStation 5, upped hardware sales 58% from $886 million from the previous-year period.

Hardware sales through 11 months approached $4 billion, up 34% from last year. Accessories increased 8% to $314 million, from $290.7 million. Year-to-date, accessory sales are up 22% to $2.07 billion, from $1.69 billion, driven by Sony’s DualSense Wireless Controller.

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Software revenue increased 32% $5.24 billion, compared with $3.96 billion last year. Year-to-date revenue is up 21% to $38.4 billion, from $31.73 billion. Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the top-selling title of the year, marking 13 straight years the franchise has topped annual software sales.

Through 11 months of the year, total video game spending is up 22% to $44.5 billion, from $36.47 billion last year.

 

NPD: Consumer Tech Revenue Up 37% Through 6 Weeks of Q4

Heading into the Black Friday retail holiday weekend and consumer technology sales are already booming, according to new data from The NPD Group. The week ended Nov. 20 was the second-highest revenue sales week of the pandemic period — bested only by Amazon Prime Week (week ended Oct. 17). As expected, TV sales led the industry for the second straight week.

NPD said notebook PCs sales increased 32% through Nov. 20, followed by tablets (up 52%); routers (+80%); sound bars and mounts (+50%); and cell phone accessories (cases, protectors and mobile power), up 32%.

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The research group contends year-over-year growth of 2.5% to 3.4% during the traditional holiday period of November and December, across general merchandise categories.

The group also claims year-over-year growth of 4.3% to 5.1% during the new holiday period, beginning in mid-October with early promotions, running through mid-January with gift card redemption, and spanning a broader view of NPD’s discretionary categories.

The NPD Group says consumers plan to spend an average of $691 during the 2020 holiday shopping season, which is less than last year’s anticipated holiday spending, but on par with 2018’s.

The hottest industries of 2020 — tech and home — will continue their momentum through the holidays with significant growth, but holiday staples will see stability compared to last year. Half of consumers plan to buy clothing/footwear/accessories as gifts this year.

Half of consumers plan to purchase intangible items/experiences as gifts for the upcoming holiday season — food subscriptions and streaming service subscriptions lead the list, and gift cards will be particularly popular.

Another 41% of consumers cited Black Friday/Thanksgiving Weekend/Cyber Monday as the period when they thought they would get the best deals of the season. About 80% of consumers plan to shop online, but shoppers still plan to make 42% of holiday purchases in a store.

For the first time, free shipping surpassed special sale price as the number one factor influencing where consumers decide to shop this holiday — cited by 41% of holiday shoppers. About 42% of holiday shoppers will be shipping most gifts because they won’t be seeing family and friends as a result of COVID-19 precautions.

Another 57% of shoppers rate the state of the economy poorly (up from 37% last year), and 30% say they will spend less because of the state of the economy (up from 23% in 2019), but consumer feelings about their personal financial situation has not changed since 2019.

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic will prompt 40% of consumers to spend more on gifts to bring joy during challenging times; 31% of consumers say they will do more self-gifting as pandemic-related retail therapy.

NPD: October Video Game Sales Up 14%

Ahead of new-generation video game console launches, consumers spent big in October on hardware, software and accessories, according to new data from The NPD Group. Total revenue spiked 14% to $3.84 billion, from $3.37 billion during the previous-year period. Through 10 months of the year, game spending topped$37.5 billion, which is 20% higher than the same period in 2019.

Despite Sony and Microsoft launching new consoles this month for the first time in seven years, hardware spending in October increased 41% to $259 million, compared with $183.6 million last year. Nintendo again dominated hardware sales thanks to its Switch platform. Year-to-date hardware sales are up 23% to $2.5 billion, from $2 billion last year.

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“Mobile, subscription, hardware and accessories were among the largest growth segments,” analyst Mat Piscatella said in a statement.

Indeed, accessory revenue climbed 23% to $148 million, from $120 million — driven in part by sales of the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller. Spending through 10 months is up 25% to record $1.8 billion, from $1.44 billion.

Content spending in October  — driven by EA’s soccer-themed FIFA 21 jumped 12% to $3.43 billion, from $3.06 billion, bringing year-to-date spending to $33.2 billion, up 19% from $27.89 billion a year ago. The title passed EA’s perennial chart topper Madden 21.

“Nine of the top 20 best-selling titles of October were published by Nintendo,” Piscatella said.

The NPD Group: Q3 Video Game Spending Hits Record High

Despite missing out on new-generation video game consoles coming out this week, new data from The NPD Group found that third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) consumer spending on video games hit an all-time quarterly high of $11.2 billion, which was up 24% from $9.03 billion in the previous-year period.

The tally was down $400 million, or 3.5%, from Q2, but up $300 million, or 2.7% from Q1 — with both quarters setting respective revenue records year-over-year.

After more than a year of declining revenue, the video game industry fortunes have skyrocketed in 2020 — largely due to stay-at-home gamers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Console sales (excluding PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S) increased 16%, while sales of headsets, controls, gamepads and related accessories increased 35%.

Video game software sales shot up 24% to $10.04 billion from $8.38 billion driven by mobile and subscription spending, in addition to game downloads.

Top-selling games included Among Us, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Fortnite, Ghost of Tsushima, Madden NFL 21, Marvel’s Avengers, Minecraft, NBA 2K21, Paper Mario: The Origami King, Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.

“We continue to see more video game players, playing for more hours, across more devices,” analyst Mat Piscatella said in a statement. “We can anticipate another record-breaking quarter in Q4, in large part due to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles entering the market with one of the fastest-selling consoles in U.S. history, the Nintendo Switch.”

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.