Physical games sales grow in Q1

Despite the decline in physical game sales causing problems for retailers such as GameStop, new data from Kantar Worldpanel shows a slight uptick in the sector in Q1 2017.

UK physical game sales were up 0.5 per cent year-on-year for the 12 weeks ending March 12th. In contrast, physical music sales fell by five per cent and video declined by 13 per cent.

That does mean, however, that overall physical entertainment sales were down seven per cent, with buyer numbers declining by 1.3m. This is, of course, attributed to the rise of digital across all three sectors.

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

Argos and GAME experienced the biggest gains of any retailer over the past 12 weeks as a result, both achieving their highest first quarter market share in over five years. 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.”

The comparisons for music were made tougher by last year’s release of Adele’s 25. Indeed, strip that out of the numbers and music would in fact be up two per cent year-on-year. Ed Sheeran’s Divide could be good news for the next quarter’s numbers.

There have also been some good performances from premium-priced music releases, such as Hardwired to Self-Destruct by Metallica and Kate Bush’s Before The Dawn, which were priced at 20.

Film, too, was dented by tough comparisons with 2016’s Spectre. Q1 2017’s biggest success, Bridget Jones’ Baby, could only manage around a third as many sales.

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