March NPD – Frazier calls for restraint as sales crash 17%

By Patrick Garratt, Thursday, 16 April 2009 23:33 GMT

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NPD analyst Anita Frazier has called for calm after NPD figures released today showed a year-on-year revenue drop of 17 percent in the US market to $1.43 billion from $1.72 billion in March 2008.

She said in a statement:

“While it might be tempting to jump to the conclusion that the sky is starting to fall on the video games industry given this months results, it’s important to remember that two very big things are different this year than last. First, Easter fell in March last year whereas it fell in April this year, and last March included the release of Super Smash Bros.: Brawl, which went on to become the fourth best-selling game in 2008.”

“You might not think that Easter is that big of a gift-giving holiday, but our consumer data shows that 8% of industry unit sales were purchased for the Easter occasion in March 2008, accounting for $121M of that months’ sales. We expect that most of Easter sales this year fell into the April reporting period and we’ll see that reflected in next month’s data.”

“This is very much like September of last year, which did not compare favorably to September of 2007 as the result of a huge game launch, Halo 3. Besides March 2008, this month’s sales are 31% higher than the previous highest March which was March of 2007, so it was a pretty healthy month for sales, overall.”

US hardware sales dropped 18 percent to $455.55 million compared to last year, while software revenue fell 17 percent to $792.83 million.

Peripheral sales were down 15 percent to $185.67 million.

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