Here’s an update to our earlier report on online shopping activity for the recently launched Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Console wars heat up as holiday season comes to full swing
Last month, Microsoft and Sony renewed their rivalry to maintain fixtures in consumers’ living rooms with the launch of their updated gaming consoles. Sony’s PlayStation 4, which held an advantage in online shopping interest ahead of the launches, continued to attract more online shoppers than the Xbox One across the leading online retailers in November.
During the week of Cyber Monday (dubbed “Cyber Week” by some) the PS4 attracted 52% more online shoppers than the Xbox One. Although both received considerable bumps in interest during the weeks of their respect launches, both are now attracting fewer online shoppers than at launch. The limited availability of the consoles and the high price points may be turning shoppers away.
Click to Enlarge
And how are the retailers performing?
On the retailer front, eager retailers hoping the consoles provide a halo over their holiday sales efforts have been stymied by limited supplies of the consoles. Consumers are shopping across multiple retail websites in hopes of finding their console of choice in stock. As a result, the share of shopping activity for these devices among the five leading online retailers was at greater parity the week of December 1 than at any point over the past six months. Walmart.com has been the top online destination for next generation console shoppers for the past four weeks, capturing 27% of all shopping activity the week of Cyber Monday (Tweet Stat!).
Click to Enlarge
The data above also illustrates the importance of retailers aggressively positioning themselves to capture pre-orders from eager and early shoppers. While the majority of these pre-orders went to gaming fans, undoubtedly another market served by pre-orders are savvy arbitragers anticipating a money making opportunity from flipping the devices on eBay. As the consoles have nearly impossible to find at retailers this holiday season, shoppers are heading to eBay, where “buy it now” prices and ending auctions remain $100 over retail, and bypassing retailers altogether. Over the past four weeks, 64% of console shoppers on eBay did not even bother shopping for the consoles on any the leading retailer websites (Tweet Stat!).
As VP of Retail and Consumer Products at Compete, Matt Pace is responsible for leading a team of client services professionals who deliver digital intelligence and insights to clients in the retail and consumer packaged good industries. Before Matt joined the Compete Team he was a CPA and senior auditor with Deloitte & Touche. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattpace.