September 10th, 2015, 23:25 Posted By: wraggster
Boxed game sales are falling and the dearth of digital data means the true state of the market remains largely a mystery.
But one tried and tested retail sector is certainly in rude health.
As recently as 2013, retail feared that next-gen consoles might mark the end for pre-owned games. But while digital continues to claim a growing slice of modern console software sales and post-release digital content swells, pre-owned game sales are up 25 per cent year-on-year for the 12 months ending August 2nd, hitting a value of £126.3m.
That’s according to Kantar Worldpanel, which says that the number of pre-owned UK buyers has not actually increased. It stands steady at around 3.2m shoppers, but the amount these gamers spend is on the up. The average pre-owned outlay per shopper is now £40 – a £10 increase over the previous 12 months.
Perhaps more importantly, 72 per cent of these buyers also purchased a brand new game in the last year. And with GfK Chart-Track data showing a further 1.1 per cent decline in boxed new game sales so far in 2015, Kantar believes pre-owned still serves as a huge contributor to the software sector’s overall health.
“Pre-owned facilitates greater activity from those with a keen interest in the games market,” consumer retail analyst Andy Saxton told MCV. “Nearly three quarters of them still buy mint games alongside pre-owned, with their average spend across games much higher (£127) than those who only buy mint games (£82). This is due to them making twice as many trips to buy games during the year (4.6 to 2.3).”
"Pre-owned game sales are up 25
per cent year-on-year for the
12 months ending August 2nd,
The benefits of pre-owned don’t end there, either. Kantar added that 79 per cent of mint physical purchases are pre-planned. That means only 21 per cent are impulse purchases – compare this to pre-owned, where 44 per cent of purchases are made on-the-spot by impulsive consumers.
Pre-owned also remains a vital entry point for younger gamers. Among the under 25s, pre-owned accounts for one third of purchases. For the overall market, that figure stands at one quarter.
It’s not all good news, however. The pre-owned market is centred on last-gen machines such as PS3 and Xbox 360. Two out of every three games purchased for last-gen machines are second-hand. For current-gen, just one in three is pre-owned.
This could potentially point to some market pain down the line. If PS4 and Xbox One buyers have moved away from pre-owned due to increased digital sales and post-release DLC, then the continuing shift from last-gen to current-gen hardware risks bringing with it the gradual erosion of pre-owned’s market benefits.
It could be, however, that as last-gen consumers migrate to newer hardware – which will almost certainly happen as prices continue to fall – they bring their buying habits with them.
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