Is this the end of specialist games retail?

It’s official: supermarkets are the fastest growing games retailers in the UK.
According to TNS data published by ERA this week, supermarkets took up 17.7 per cent of revenue earned through video game software sales in 2009 – a whopping 328m. That figure was just 210m, 10.1 per cent of the market, the year previously.

Online retail also grew its presence in games slightly – but specialists such as GAME and Gamestation saw their market share marginally fall from 35 per cent in 2008 to 33.9 per cent in 2009.

The latest data from TNS also revealed that supermarkets are now the biggest DVD retailer with 35.7 per cent share of the video sector. They’re also the second largest in music, accounting for 29.3 per cent of CD sales last year.

ERA director general Kim Bayley told MCV the loss of Woolworths has propelled the growth of supermarkets – and she reckons they will grow their share in games further.

Woolworths sales pretty much migrated either to supermarkets or online,” she said.

Games trends tend to follow music and DVD, and supermarkets have been ramping up their games offering – it wouldn’t surprise me to see their market share in games continue to increase. If I were a supermarket, I would be thinking that if I can get a 35 per cent share in DVD, I can also get that in games.

But there is a lot more competition in the games market, so supermarkets will probably not quite reach the same market share as they do in other entertainment sector.”

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