This might not surprise anyone, but it turns out even the steep price cuts retailers used to entice consumers wasn’t enough to offset the sputtering North American economy. This holiday season – which typically accounts for around 30 to 50 per cent of a retailers total sales, was a bust that rippled across every retail sector. According to preliminary data released by SpendingPulse – a division of MasterCard, total retail sales slipped 2 to 4 per cent. While the electronics sector’s slip of 26.7% sounds substantial, it can’t even hold a torch to luxury item’s such as jewelry which sank almost 35%.
On a more positive note, online retailer Amazon.com said its 2008 holiday sales were its “best ever”. The retailer reportedly received orders for over 6.4 million items. This is good news for Amazon, and helps to back up claims from SpendingPulse’s which showed that more and more, consumers are making the switch to shopping online. Overall online sales declined a meager 2.3 percent from the previous year, however this is in stark contrast to 2007 when e-commerce grew almost 22.4 per cent. With big name brick and mortar retailers such as Circuit City already facing bankruptcy, weak holiday sales might see even more blood shed in the retail sector come January.
The clock is ticking, and the boxing week picture is not yet clear, but it remains to be seen what if anything will put retailers back in the black.
Doubts have been cast on the success of the Blu-ray format ever since it debuted. Initially, the format appeared to be doomed due to a poor adoption rate, thanks mainly to a host of factors, including the PS3’s initial tribulations, popularity of the DVD format, and the steady rise in the popularity of digital downloads.
However, it soon appeared that the tide had turned as PS3’s sales picked up and the rival HD DVD format ran out of steam and met its sorry fate. The latest good news has come in the form of sales data released by research firm Futuresource, which indicates that Blu-ray sales during the ongoing holiday season have been promising.
Another sinister portent for the Blu-ray format happens to be the grim sales picture of the PS3; strong sales of the console surely could have gone a long way in popularizing the format. I expect Blu-ray to share the same mediocre fortunes as the PS3 during the remainder of its lifetime.
Call of Duty: World at War, Spore, and Fallout 3 definitely got in a few chomps before getting turned to paste under the weight of WoW's millions, though. Left 4 Dead also made the "November Top Ten" page of 2008's gaming yearbook, though in a somewhat unspectacular fashion -- probably because NPD figures only cover retail sales.
Check out the full list below:
World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King / Blizzard / $36 (Average)
World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Ed. / Blizzard / $50 (Average)
Call Of Duty: World At War / Treyarch / $50 (Average)
Spore / EA Maxis / $48 (Average)
Fallout 3 / Bethesda / $49 (Average)
World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard / $34 (Average)
The Sims 2 Deluxe / EA Maxis / $19 (Average)
Left 4 Dead / Valve / $48 (Average)
The Sims 2 Apartment Life Exp. Pack / EA Maxis / $21(Average)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 / EA LA / $49 (Average)
World Of Warcraft / Blizzard / $18 (Average)
The Sims 2 Mansion & Garden Stuff Exp. / EA Maxis / $19 (Average)
Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy / Her Interactive / $20 (Avearge)
EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey / Sony Online Ent. / $40 (Average)(Average)
Far Cry 2 / Ubisoft Montreal / $50 (Average)
World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack / Blizzard / $29 (Average)
BioShock / 2K Boston, Australia / $14 (Average)
Spore Creepty & Cute Parts Pack / EA Maxis / $19 (Average)
IGT Slots: Little Green Men / Masque / $20 (Average)
Assassin's Creed / Ubisoft Montreal / $11 (Average)
So, did you pre-pay your respects to a game retailer's barely breathing form last month? And if so, what'd you buy?
The day that digital music outsells their time-tested physical counterparts is finally upon us. Just this week Atlantic Records announced that more than half of its music sold within the United States was digital, thanks mostly to iTunes and cell phone ringtones.
But sadly, with the lowered amount of in-store copies being bought, there’s ultimately a smaller pie to get a digital piece from. Analysts at Forrester Research are estimating that music sales in the United Sates will go down to $9.2 billion in 2013, from $10.1 billion this year. Compare that to the $14.6 billion in 1999, and there’s a disturbing trend for record execs.
It’s expected that piracy has a good deal to do with the lowering numbers, but the ailing economy could very well be a large factor. The real question though, is how long until an overwhelming majority of music sold is digitally? It can’t be too far off.
As it stands, the PC gaming industry is estimated to be worth a massive $20 billion today, and it is predicted to enlarge to $34 billion by 2012.
While many have claimed that PC gaming is dying, they don’t take into account the sales of gaming-oriented PCs. According to Ted Pollak, one of the two men behind this robust estimation, “Retail software figures are not an accurate barometer for the health of the PC gaming industry. The retail numbers don’t capture the casual and digitally distributed games, either.”
Pollak goes on to state that PC gamers don’t really buy that many games to begin with. “Enthusiast PC gamers often latch onto one or two games that offer multiplayer options and stick to these titles for years. Hardware is where they spend the big bucks.”
And yes, it is noticeable that a good amount of the sales went to complete PCs, but there’s also a large market of you that buy your own parts. Many of the sales come from upgrade pieces such as improved graphics cards and memory. And for this, we at Maximum PC salute you.
Fallout 3 -- looks about right. Next up, Spore -- no Nancy Drews here. And then we have... Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy? In third place? We're double face-palming (separately, and with disappointment -- not like Macaulay Culkin), especially considering who crossed the finish line huffing-and-puffing behind Ms. Killjoy.
Just take a look at the full list of NPD Group's top 20 best-selling games of October.
1. Fallout 3 / Bethesda Softworks / $49 (Average) 2. Spore / EA Maxis / $49 (Average) 3. Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy / Her Interactive / $18 (Average) 4. Far Cry 2 / Ubisoft Montreal / $50 (Average) 5. Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning / EA Mythic / $49 (Average) 6. World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard Entertainment / $38 (Average) 7. The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack / EA Maxis / $26 (Average) 8. Fallout 3 Collectors Ed / Bethesda Softworks / $79 (Average) 9. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $25 (Average) 10. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 / EA Los Angeles / $48 (Average) 11. World Of Warcraft / Blizzard Entertainment / $20 (Average) 12. Civilization IV: Colonization / Firaxis / $29 (Average) 13. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade / Blizzard Entertainment / $29 (Average) 14. Crysis: Warhead / Crytek / $30 (Average) 15. Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway / Gearbox Software / $49 (Average) 16. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Premier Ed / EA Los Angeles / $65 (Average) 17. Dead Space / EA Redwood Shores / $49 (Average) 18. Spore Creature Creator / Spore Creature Creator / $10 (Average) 19. Civilization IV / Firaxis / $24 (Average) 20. The Sims 2 FreeTime Expansion Pack / EA Maxis / $25 (Average)
As per usual, this data is retail only, but we're still not too happy with you, Far Cry 2. Really, Ubisoft! At least Red Alert 3 has an excuse.
Radiohead’s tight lips have opened up (gross) to finally tell the world about their pay-as-you-like experiment for selling their latest album, ‘In Rainbows’. Despite CNN’s calling it one of the dumbest moments in business last year (they were looking forward to the follow-up album, ‘In Debt’), the English rockers have earned a well deserved “we told you so” moment.
Earning a considerable amount more than they did on their previous album with nearly 1.75 million physical albums sold and 3 million copies sold total, Radiohead has earned the right to mark this down as a rousing success. It should also be noted that they made more money off of the digital distribution of ‘In Rainbows’ than they did on their previous album, ‘Hail To the Thief’ which only sold somewhere in the low hundred thousands.
Admittedly this isn’t a formula that will work every single time, some credit should be given to the fact that Radiohead is the first high profile band to have done this. But, that doesn’t mean that recognition shouldn’t be given where it’s due. Innovation in an industry such as music is something that’s rare, and it’s always welcome to see bands take moves towards getting their music into people’s ears rather than getting money into their pockets (though, this time it’s a win-win).
Radiohead, keep up the good work. Music industry, take notice.
Should you be interested more in the numbers surrounding Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’, hit the jump.
While there’s no doubt that Apple’s insanely popular iTunes store would hit this milestone, they felt it necessary to announce that they’ve finally hit 200 million sales of TV episodes, with more than one million of those being HD episodes sold just last month.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services, said in a statement this past Thursday, “We've got an incredible Fall 2008 TV lineup with over 70 primetime comedies and dramas, including many of the most popular shows on TV in stunning HD. With over 200 million episodes sold, iTunes customers have proven they love watching television on their computer, iPod, iPhone and TV with Apple TV.”
Thanks to the partnership of major television networks such as Bravo, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, HBO, MTV, Nickelodeon, Sci Fi, Showtime and USA, these sales don’t look they’re going to slow down anytime in the near future.
For those keeping track, the iTunes store now offers over eight million songs, over 30,000 TV episodes and over 2,500 films. Almost makes a man never want to leave his house.
The next time anyone tells you that PCs will soon become obsolete in a world filled with media centers and gaming consoles, feel free to give them a wedgie. And while you're tugging at their skivvies, be sure and let them know the real truth about PC sales, which are not only in no danger of disappearing, but are boasting stronger than expected sales.
"How strong?," the wedgie recipient asks, appearing more surprised at the news than he is of his underwear being pulled higher than it every has been before.
Tell him $127 billion, which represents global semiconductor chip sales for the first half of 2008, or 5.4 percent above the H1 2001 result. Then let him know that June 2008 sales climbed 8 percent from June 2007's numbers, settling in at $21.6 billion compared to $20 billion.
Hit the jump to find out why memory manufacturers aren't sharing the same enthusiasm.
It looks like the sluggish economy is affecting LCD panel revenues, they dropped 11% in June, but they still represent a 12% on-year growth. Samsung Electronics remains the worldwide leader in terms revenues, followed by LG Display and AU Optronics, according to DisplaySearch.
There was $6.9 billion in total LCD revenues for June. No matter how you look at it, that is a lot of LCD panels.
Panel makers however see the price drop as a possible stimulant to boost demand. They believe prices will stabilize in August, and stand a chance of rising in September, driven by back to school demand.
That means look for your bargins now to complete your 3 or 4 monitor setup!