NPD: April stung by 17% sales slide

The US videogame market has seen its second successive fall in sales, dropping 17 per cent year-on-year.

Sales reached $1.03 billion, according to research firm NPD. That figure includes sales of software, hardware and accessories. Last year, April sales reached $1.24 billion.

Coupled with the 17 per cent year-on-year decline in March, the US market has now seen the positive growth in January and February negated. Year-to-date market sales in 2009 now sits at 5.28 billion, 4 per cent below last year’s performance.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier states that the year-on-year decline is largely due to the inordinarily high success of April 2008, a month which saw the release of Grand Theft Auto 4 and Mario Kart Wii. She added, however, that the blow has been cushioned due to the Easter period landing in April this year.

"While April sales might appear soft on the surface, it’s important to remember that April is being compared against a month (April 2008) that realized nearly 50 percent growth over April 2007,” she said.

This year’s performance still represents the second-best performance for the industry in the month of April, besting April 2007, which is the previous second-place holder, by 26 percent."

She added that the strong results seen throughout last year will continue to challenge expectations for the rest of 2009, implying that year-over-year comparisons in the months ahead will show more negativity. But May should be an easier comparison than the last two months have been," she said.

Frazier also noted that year-on-year unit sales were down by just 5 percent, with market figures hurt more by the natural decline in average selling prices.

"While the continued difficult economic environment is a factor to consider, our monthly Consumer Spending Indicator study still shows that video games is the category that consumers tell us they’re least likely to cut their spending on in coming months."

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