New research shows a 19% drop in physical sales for UK entertainment sector

A new report by Kantar – self-described as “the leading provider of continuous consumer panel research, measuring the film, music and game purchasing trends in Great Britain” – reveals that owing to “fewer shoppers and a lack of big-name releases”, the physical entertainment sector in the UK has declined 19 per cent over the last three months to June 30th, 2019.

As Amazon Prime Day sales are still to be accounted for its possible the market will see an uplift in the second half of the year, and”the market continues to depend on gift-hunting shoppers and benefited from the £24 million worth of sales generated by Father’s Day this period”. 

The research also shows that sales of Nintendo’s hybrid system, Nintendo Switch, are up 6 per cent, owing in part to 40,000 sales of Super Smash Bro Ultimate across the period. Overall, however, console sales fell from 407K to 350K year-over-year due to “many holding out and delaying their purchases until the autumn”.

Interestingly, it appears Argos attracted more “first-hand game shoppers” over this period while Amazon and “specialist mint game stores” have seen numbers fall. While it hasn’t quite been enough to offset the retailer’s losses YoY, it’s thought Argos “has stolen £300,000 of mint game spend from Amazon this quarter, £132,000 from GAME and £200,000 from Tesco”.

“Online retailers performed well again this quarter, with Amazon accounting for 25% of all spend and growing share in each category,” explained Claire McClelland, consumer specialist at Kantar. “Amazon and eBay are increasingly popular with shoppers wanting to get the latest releases without leaving their homes – particularly if a traditional retailer has disappeared from their local high street. Amazon will be expecting this trend to continue as a third of shoppers planning to shop during its Amazon Prime Day were intending to buy physical entertainment, compared with 42 per cent who had their eye on electronics. 

“However, if last year is anything to go by, success for Amazon doesn’t inevitably mean bad news for the high street. People that bought something from the online giant during the week of Amazon Prime Day in 2018 spent 40 per cent more on the high street than the average shopper during those days – demonstrating the value of those shoppers to bricks-and-mortar retailers as well.”

A recent report from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has revealed better news for digital sales as UK consumers spent more than £100m a week on digital entertainment in the first half of this year, be that digital music, video, or downloadable video games.

The ERA confirmed revenues in video games increased 1 per cent over the period to £1.56bn, and remains the biggest sector “by far”, accounting for “nearly half of the combined music, video and games markets”. For the first six months of 2019, the most successful game of the period was Grand Theft Auto V with 361,312 units sold, followed closely by FIFA 19, which sold 360,588 copies.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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