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Tough Xmas for physical entertainment

bfgData on the physical entertainment market from Kantar Worldpanel has revealed a tough fourth quarter with a decline of 7.8 per cent across music, video and gaming in the 12 weeks to December 18th. Music and video both witnessed double digit declines, with sales falling by 11 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, while gaming was down by 2.7 per cent.

Fiona Keenan, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “The music market needs platinum selling albums to sustain its performance. Albums like Adele’s 25 can be worth more than 10 per cent of the market in one quarter alone and with no major albums this period, music sales have taken a hit.”

Fiona Keenan continues: “The increasing popularity of digital entertainment products is making it ever more difficult for retailers to maintain the relevance and excitement of giving physical entertainment products as gifts, and it’s not been an easy Christmas as a result. Over one million fewer shoppers purchased physical music or video as gifts this quarter, equating to around £31 million (€36m) lost. Gift cards for digital music and video aren’t popular enough to offset this as yet, so it’s vital that retailers think creatively about how to use their stores as a platform to promote online gifting.”

“This Christmas was the first in five years not to feature an artist album in the top 10 most popular gifts. FIFA 17 topped the present charts this year – two places higher than its predecessor FIFA 16, which only achieved third place in 2015. Games took three out of the top five spots with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1 joining the ranks as animations dominated in video, led by Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory and The BFG.”

Argos saw the biggest gains this Christmas, increasing its market share by 2.8 percentage points to 9.9 per cent. In the main this was thanks to its 19.1 per cent share of the games market – it took over a quarter of gift sales in November and December to push this figure higher than any point in the past five years.

Fiona Keenan comments: “Having its outlets in Sainsbury’s stores will allow Argos to appeal to a much broader range of consumers among all entertainment markets, particularly in gaming. At the moment the majority of its games sales are to under-35s, and only 6 per cent of Argos and Sainsbury’s gaming consumers buy across both stores, so its growing concession presence should put it in a good position to increase share again this year.”

Zavvi was another strong performer this quarter, managing to increase its value sales despite the deep declines in the wider market. Its performance in video – where the average basket spend was over £10 higher than the market average of £14.54 – strengthened this position, and with a third of physical entertainment purchases now made online it can take advantage of increasing consumer demand for greater variety and convenience.

Among the supermarkets, which traditionally perform less well in entertainment over the festive period, Tesco and Asda fared best. In gaming, Tesco’s share of 14.3 per cent was enough to move it ahead of Amazon – the first time it has led the online giant over Christmas since 2012, while Asda made gains in games and video following two years of declining fourth quarter share.

Fiona Keenan continues: “The increasing competition in gaming has had repercussions for GAME, which suffered the biggest market share decline of any major retailer this quarter. While it continues to lead in games, it now only holds 27.4 per cent of the market – down from 32.3 per cent and the lowest it’s been since 2014. March’s Nintendo Switch launch will be critical for GAME if it is to regain its losses but it will continue to face strong competition from Argos, currently the number one retailer for Nintendo games.”

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