Xbox 360 vs. Wii vs. PS3: Wii more in demand now than at launch

About one year ago, those lucky enough to purchase a Wii in November were enjoying it, about to make someone’s Christmas, or cleaning house on Ebay. Those who braved the lines or shelled out a premium for a PS3 were kicking themselves as retailers maintained an abundant supply of the console for most of December. Xbox 360 owners were too busy playing Gears of War to notice either situation. So with all three consoles surviving their first (or second) year out of the gate, what’s changed?

The chart below shows Compete’s estimate of monthly in-market video console demand based on the number of U.S. consumers observed shopping online for each console.* The biggest takeaway: Wii domination.

  • Wii Demand skyrockets: nearly 3 million people shopped for the console online in November. In fact, demand for the Wii was nearly 40% higher than in the month that the Wii LAUNCHED in back in 2006.
  • Halo 3 does what it’s told: The most anticipated game of 2007 helped Xbox 360 gain the title of most shopped console in September, besting the Wii for the first time since launch.
  • Xbox experiences "launch 3.0?"; Xbox 360 consoles also experienced a huge lift in November, beating demand levels of the previous November (which we dubbed "launch 2.0") by about 5%.
  • Not in trouble, but not out of the woods either: PS3, despite having its best month since December of 2006 and a more affordable price, failed to compete with either the 360 or the Wii in terms of demand, attracting about 1.1 million shoppers.

December’s shaping up nicely as well. The chart above shows weekly demand for the 3 consoles, through December 15th and compares that demand to last year’s numbers. While it’s obvious that the Wii is in extremely high demand, the 2006 to 2007 comparison is more telling of consumer mindset.

  • Comparing the two time frames, the Wii has captured shoppers at levels consistently higher than during it’s launch week, for the last 4 weeks (approximately 1.4 million shoppers per week).
  • The Xbox 360 has experienced demand at much higher levels than last year throughout the period(excluding a spike aligned with an promotion). In fact, its demand trends almost identically to the 2006 PS3 line for the last several weeks.
  • The Playstation 3 has followed a similar trend as the 360, but at a significantly lower level. Currently the PS3 received about 2/3rds as much demand as its Microsoft built competitor.

This weekly data indicates a couple interesting things. First, shoppers seem to be more comfortable shopping for a console than last year. In the last several weeks, the volume of in-market console shoppers has been substantially higher than last year. Additionally, Wii shoppers who may have written off the console as an impossible gift last year, may perceive the Wii as more available this year, and are turning to web once they discover local stores are sold out. Ironically, the competition online is even stiffer this year than last. But hey, there’s aways Ebay.

Note: Compete calculated console demand based on the number of U.S. consumers who shopped for the respective consoles at leading online retailers.

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