News Article

NPD: US Consumers Want a Hot Item This Xmas, But The Wii U Isn't It

Posted by Damien McFerran

Industry as a whole is in better shape, though

2012 hasn't been a fantastic year for the video game industry in terms of sales. Year on year, the market is shrinking - August saw a drop of 20 percent, which is understandably worrying for developers, publishers and retailers.

However, The NPD Group - whose job it is to research sales trends in the video game sector - have predicted a little room for improvement.

A recent NPD survey found that of the 3,618 consumers surveyed, 77 percent of them planned to spend the same amount or more on video game goods this holiday season. 10 percent of that total said they would spend more, and the remaining 67 percent said that they’d spend the same figure.

The same survey conducted in 2011 found that 9 percent of those asked said they would spend more, and 64 percent said they’d spend the same - a small change, but a step in the right direction regardless.

However, there's still a hint of pessimism to the news. Here's NPD analyst Marshal Cohen to deliver it:

Watch for more practical purchases this year with consumers buying useful items that they need rather than spending their money on luxury treats. Consumers tell us they want to shop more but without the’it’ item and lack of pent-up demand this could be the Christmas of Contradictions.

Although he doesn't mention the Wii U directly, it's telling that Cohen has ignored Nintendo's new console in his prediction - a clear indication that many within the industry don't view the system as a 'must have' purchase this Christmas. It remains to be seen if this will be the case - Nintendo products have a habit of proving the so-called experts wrong.


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User Comments (33)



Chunky_Droid said:

I don't think Nintendo really have anything to worry about, unless he talks about Wii U directly I don't think there's too much to read into it.

Pre-orders are unavailable everywhere in the US right? That's a good thing for them, yes?



Tsuchinoko said:

I'll be curious to see how it sells in Japan this holiday. I've been really interested in this one, since the 3DS still does so well, and the Japanese market especially is moving towards more and more focus on handhelds, portables, just anything smaller and mobile in general. I think with all the good 3DS games coming out this winter season, the 3DS will still sell very well, but I've never been sure about the WiiU in the current Japanese market, since it seems like such a high maintenance home console, and that's not what is really in the public consciousness in Japan these days. I could be really surprised, and with some of the games that will be coming out (I'm still really jealous that Pikmin 3 will be on the WiiU and not the 3DS), I wouldn't completely write out it selling well in Japan.



BXXL said:

It makes sense, as the "mainstream audience" won't be able to find any Wii U in stores: all the pre-orders have been purchased by the die-hard Nintendo fans, and Nintendo can't produce enough consoles to satisfy a huge demand anyway...

But by the end of 2013, we'll know for sure if there's a huge demand, or not...



Spoony_Tech said:

Now I don't watch a ton of TV but I've still yet to see one Wii U commercial! It doesn't help if no one knows about the system. At least with the Wii I seen tons of commercials before it was released.



Axl_abe said:

I does matter this earily in the race. How many preorders can each store have right now? Id say 6-8 tops >_>



TruenoGT said:

Like what tech101 said, I think the only people that know about the Wii U are the gamers like us scouring the 'net for information. Until Nintendo starts the hype train rolling, there won't be much demand outside of gaming fans.



iphys said:

Honestly, I don't think the Wii U is going to have mass appeal. For all the people that already have a 360 or PS3, there's not much to get excited about. I think the only reason the pre-orders have sold out is Nintendo is playing it safe with how many pre-orders they're allowing, and a huge number of the pre-orders are just hoarders hoping to scalp them. I heard that pre-orders sold out for the 3DS in Japan before release, yet right after launch day the stores couldn't even sell the things, so apparently it doesn't mean much whether pre-orders sell out.



rjejr said:

So there isn't a pent up demand from consumers for a console that isn't being advertised yet? Somebody should pass that news onto Nintendo so they START advertising it.
I don't care how many pre-orders it has, how many of those pre-orders are from soccer moms buying it for their kids? How many of you who pre-ordered it on here bought it to put under a Christmas tree as a gift? This is an NPD Group survey of "holiday gift buying" so if you didn't buy it as a holiday gift then you aren't a part of this survey. I bet in a survey of 1,000 soccer moms maybe 3 would say a WiiU was on their Christmas shopping list this year.



Sun said:

I don't know the big deal about $10/10€ pre orders selling out. Christmas is going to be the first chance to test Wii U success. But as said earlier by iphys for PS360 owners there is nothing to get excited about, while for Nintendo lovers there is not a great game at launch.

People are starting to think of New Super Mario Bros. as watered-down Mario games, that's Nintendo's fault. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a mediocre game and a bad Mario game with all its might.



hYdeks said:

I agree, Wii U is great and exciting for Nintendo die-hards, but for everyone else, it's just a shoulder shrug and a "who give's a poo"



dimi said:

Unavailable pre-orders is just a sign of tricky and shady marketing strategy from Nintendo. In my opinion. We will found out soon enough when second and third week sales come out.



XCWarrior said:

I know plenty of people who want to reserve a Wii U and can't right now. It's going to sell just fine.



Spoony_Tech said:

X@mumof2kids82 Just because it sold well doesn't mean it's not mediocre. I bought it along with many that think the 2d games are getting stale. I wont waste my money on any dlc unless I get really bored! I should've bought a physical copy so I could sell it back for store credit! o_O



Mahe said:

The Wii U isn't a "must have" like the Wii was, not at that price and with those games. I'll still be playing my original Wii come 2013.



aaronsullivan said:

I go back and forth on this. I just don't know how the greater public will view the wii u. It would be nice to see some TV commercials from Nintendo to see what their plan is to catch the greater masses. I also think the preorders mean almost nothing. And the way I feel right now is that I'll be able to walk into a store on launch day and pick it up without even waiting in line. But I will wait in line.



Boo_Buster said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again; once positive word of mouth starts to spread the Wii U will gain some traction and sell to those who are "on the fence". This holiday season might not be anything to write home about, but systems will be sold out as seen by reports. Once they announce those "must have" games, gamers will want one, especially with the price being friendly for the newest system on the market. I might even argue that Nintendo has set themselves up well for the future, as developers might not be as keen as they once were to spend a huge portion of funds on one triple-A game that could possibly flop. Who knows how much it could cost to develop for the "PS4" and "XBOX720", even though they will be powerful systems. The Wii U seems powerful enough for the hardcore gamer and innovative enough for the average user while being economically friendly. Although it has yet to be seen, I feel that once I get some friends over to my house and they get their hands on the Wii U they are going to be asking their wives or wallets for a Wii U sooner or later



AVahne said:

Guess I have a different opinion. As a multi-platform owner sans XBox, I'm seeing the Wii U as truly must-have console. I COULD get some of those 3rd party games for my PS3 or my gaming PC, but I'd rather wait for the superior version gameplay-wise on Wii U. It helps that the graphics on Wii U beat out PS3 at launch and will only get better once developers get used to the hardware. Also I seem to one of the very few on this site who REALLY wants Nintendoland and the local fun it promises along with games like the improved version of NG3, AC3, ZombiU, Trine 2, Tank! Tank! Tank! and future titles such as Bayonetta 2, The Wonderful 101, MH3U, Smash Bros 4, and whatever else Nintendo (MARIO KART U PLEASE) and the 3rd parties have in store. Seems like I'm the only person who views it as a must have, considering I'm not gullible and delusional enough to believe Wii U would be left behind by Microsoft and Sony's next home offerings.
... Doesn't seem like I'll be getting The Last of Us anytime soon... Dang it.. BACKLOG!



Mahe said:

@Koto It can be left behind by the Wii. The Wii U is heading straight to be another DS -> 3DS situation.



Void said:

Just wait until Nintendo puts out some TV ads, it's sales will probably explode like the Wii's did.



SpaceApe said:

All I will say is that we go through this every year. Some say Nintendo won't do this or that but yet their products sell like hotcakes every year. Take this with a grain of salt.



Capt_N said:

I kinda want one(a WU), but right now, I'll only say "definitely want one", after I get my hands on a (WU) demo in stores, that is if I like it, of course.



meltendo said:

Most of the reaction I get from families and friends that already have a Wii is "meh". My gut feeling is that the pre-orders were bought up by people hoping to take advantage of selling the units on e-bay, etc. There's no "must have" title for many of us.




I'll be playing ZombiU with the family during the holidays. Nothing for me until next year.



Mahe said:

@ChunkyDroid You've got old data that Nintendo paraded out near launch to make the 3DS seem more successful. With the Wii U, they can't even give out data like that when the Wii U flounders after launch because the Wii was strong right out the gate.

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