A fall in shopper numbers continues to affect the sale of Blu-ray discs and DVDs in the UK, but it’s not all bad news according to Kantar Worldwide Data. A varied release slate has meant that shoppers are buying more frequently, helping to slow the decline: HMV, Sainsbury’s and Zavvi all managed to encourage consumers to buy videos more often during the past 12 weeks.
Blu-ray’s share of video sales grew by 20 per cent during the quarter, higher than at any point in 2015, as DVD continued to decline. Sales of Blu-ray were up 12 per cent year on year – helped by big action releases particularly well-suited to viewing in HD, including Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War. Sainsbury’s was the big winner in Blu-ray, growing sales by almost a third, while HMV also grew ahead of the market with this format – up 14 per cent year on year.
The video games market continues to struggle in the face of ever-increasing competition from digital: sales of digital games grew by 12 per cent in the latest quarter, now accounting for 48 per cent of the market and almost overtaking physical games in value for the first time. Despite the tricky conditions, Argos continues to perform well, growing its market share by 4.1 percentage points to hold 15 per cent of the market and overtaking Tesco to occupy the third spot overall. GAME, however, remains the firm market leader, increasing its market share by 1 percentage point year on year.
Physical games are certainly having a tough time at the moment, but the advent of 4K gaming – including the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S – could give the sector a much-needed boost. Not only is this new generation of games likely to come at a higher price point, but the rise of virtual reality – as signalled by the launch of the PSVR and Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scorpio – could attract new shoppers beyond the stereotypical young male gamer. Nintendo’s new Switch console, which we should see in the first quarter of 2017, also looks set to appeal to a wider audience and could reinvigorate the sector just as the Wii did ten years ago.
Meanwhile, HMV has overtaken Amazon to become the UK’s largest music retailer, attracting 41,000 new shoppers and growing its share of the overall physical entertainment market by 2.7 percentage points. Since going into administration three and a half years ago, HMV has only reached a share this high once before. That instance was earlier this year when performance was boosted by its January sale.