Game suspension

The decline in sales of the physical entertainment sector slowed considerably from 7% to 3% for the 12 weeks ending 5 July, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Tesco, Amazon, Game and Argos all saw an increase in sales between them bringing an additional £8.5m to the market. There was also improved performance in the video market, where a value decline of 3.6% compared to a drop of 9.5% last quarter.

Amazon and Tesco were the major winners, taking 42.5% of the market between them. Tesco was the strongest performer for the period’s biggest release – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – securing over a quarter of the title’s physical sales.

“The two retailers are now clearly ahead of HMV despite the three being level this time last year,” said Fiona Keenan, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel. “Meanwhile Asda saw the largest decline in the video market. Its market share fell from 15% to 11.7% year-on-year, following a move to an £11 price point on new release DVDs as many of its shoppers switched to other, cheaper retailers.”

However, despite a strong growth in the first quarter of the year, physical music declined in the second quarter of 2015. This was particularly felt by the grocers and Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s collectively lost over £3 million in value year-on-year. According to Kantar this was due in part to a lack of big-name album releases to match Coldplay’s Ghost Stories, which came out in May 2014. While HMV saw declines across both video and gaming, it held its value for physical music, helped by new releases including English Graffiti by The Vaccines and How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, the third album from Florence and the Machine.

Kantar said the importance of smaller retailers to the physical entertainment market continues to grow, with their contribution worth £47.7 million – up by £4.3 million from last year.

“Games have been the strongest performer over the last quarter, supported by sales growth in software for the current generation of consoles,” Keenan said. “Performing particularly well is GAME, which has increased its market share within the sector to 31.7% from 29.1% last year. It continues to be the preferred choice for owners of the Xbox One and PS4, taking 36.5% of their combined software sales.”