High Street Sales Increase Over Festive Period
News of hard-hit high street retailers tend to rear their head around the festive period and this Christmas time is no exception.
Last month sales of electronics, which encompasses video-games, were 0.4% lower in November than in October according to the Office of Statistics (ONS), adding to the hardship of high street retailers.
“It’s not a very merry start to the Christmas season for retailers” said Howard Archer, from economic and financial analysis group IHS Global Insight, “It is the Christmas period that is particularly vital for most retailers and the 0.4% drop in sales volumes in November indicates that they are having their work cut out to get pressurised and worried consumers to spend.”
This trend has not affected the entire high street, with some retailers reporting strong pre-Christmas sales. However the ONS has shown that numerous consumers have turned THEIR (not there) back on town centres instead opting for (the) internet, with online shopping growing to £787.9m compared to £593m from this time in November 2010, an increase of almost £200m.
But what does this mean? In the short-term it means deals for the consumer and a prosperous high street. With the high street pushing to keep up with the prices that online retailers offer and with Christmas fast approaching high street stores have hacked and slashed prices. Skyrim and Saint’s Row 3 dropped to around the £20 mark are prime examples of this.
However in the long-term, the future of high street games shops is still in the air. Once the Christmas and the subsequent sales rush are over the high street is left to fend for itself once again. The trend has tended to show that high street profits are in a slow decline, and bar the peaks around big releases and the Christmas period, video game retailers are no different.
Will we eventually see a market dominated by online retailers? The short answer is unlikely. While it doesn’t always win on price, it keeps up. And with an ever-expanding video game industry there are enough big titles released each year to see the shops through to the Christmas boom. Also, nothing in video-gaming can top the experience of getting the most anticipated release for a shop at midnight and playing it through ’til the early hours.
The second-hand/trade in market has also provided a healthy income, which online sellers struggle to provide and much to the annoyance of the industry itself (although that is a different subject altogether).
Granted the likes of Play and Amazon have the upper hand on the price war, but with Game, GameStation and co still ploughing on don’t expect to see the high street game retailers to disappear any time soon.