We have been excited to see Nintendo's growth this morning as the company published its financial report for Q2 of the fiscal year ending March, 2023. One stat that has really stood out to us comes in the continued popularity of digital sales, with this mode of buying now accounting for 49.3% of all software sales in the quarter.
This marks a slight drop in the percentage from the year's Q1 findings (for which digital accounted for 53% of sales) though digital purchases are still up on those seen in the last fiscal year, with this year's overall digital sales currently sitting at 51% of the total while this time last year saw them at 45.1%.
For reference, Q1 of the 2021 fiscal year - covering the initial global response to the COVID-19 pandemic - saw digital purchases peak at 55.6% of total sales as we all turned to the eShop in the absence of any stores being open. What followed was something of a yo-yo effect, with digital percentages falling into the 30s with the world's grand re-opening before rising to generally sit around the mid- to high-40s where it has mostly remained since.
It is worth bearing in mind that the term 'digital sales' does not refer only to games. The percentage accounts for all things bought digitally - downloadable versions of packaged software, download-only software, DLC, Nintendo Switch Online memberships etc. - and does therefore not wholly reflect the state of game sales alone.
This is the case even more so in this quarter's report. Nintendo stated that sales increased for NSO memberships, DLC and download-only content to account for 47.5% of the company's total digital sales. Download-only software such as Kirby's Dream Buffet and DLC including the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Courses were specifically highlighted for their popularity in this rising number.
This being said, digital sales of otherwise packaged software continue to account for around half of game sales. While there is no chance of games ending their physical distribution any time soon with numbers like that, a continued move towards digital could see the scales tip in coming years.