You heard that more people turned to video games for entertainment and socializing in April. But now, industry monitoring company The NPD Group puts a few more numbers to this story. Consumers in the United States spent $ 420 million last month buying new Nintendo Switch, Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4. This is a huge year-over-year increase. Game sales hit global record in April.
“Equipment spending in April 2020 increased 163% from a year ago to $ 420 million,” said NDP analyst Mat Piscatella. “This is the highest total for April since the total of $ 427 million reached in April 2008. Cumulative spending reached $ 1.2 billion, an increase of 30% from one year ago.”
Once again, the Nintendo Switch came out on top. The younger system has not quite saturated the market like its older counterparts. There are also no major next-generation upgrades coming this fall as with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. But while that would traditionally mean lower sales for PS4 and Xbox One – April doesn’t was not traditional.
“Nintendo Switch was April’s top-selling hardware platform in terms of unit sales and dollars,” said Piscatella. “Sales in dollars for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch each increased by more than 160% from April 2019.”
A large number of people who have abandoned the current generation of hardware have chosen April to finally get started. But Nintendo Switch is still the most exciting console for current hardware buyers. And the proof is in the pace of record sales of systems.
“Nintendo Switch dollar sales since the start of the year have been the highest of any hardware platform in U.S. history,” said Piscatella. “The previous record was set by Nintendo Wii during the cumulative period ending in April 2009.
Accessories and game cards also increased sharply
Consumers have not only bought consoles and games. They also showed up for headsets, joysticks, and game cards (mostly gift cards that many people use to buy digital games).
“Total April 2020 spending on game accessories and cards reached $ 384 million, up 49% from a year ago,” said Piscatella. “Cumulative spending has increased 8% to $ 1.3 billion.”
Spending on accessories jumped in part because of who was spending in April. Families, friends and roommates are all trapped at home together due to shelter orders. And people are looking for entertainment to do together. This has led to a huge leap for people buying second or third controllers.
“Spending on joysticks set a new record for April, almost doubling the previous record a year ago,” said Piscatella. “The PS4 DualShock 4 Black wireless controller was the best-selling game controller of April, with the Switch Pro controller ranking as the best-selling game controller since the start of the year.”
And even people who don’t have other people playing in their homes still use games to socialize. To facilitate this, many American consumers have also purchased new gaming headsets for communication.
“Headphone / headset spending hit a new record in April, with dollar sales doubling from the previous record in April 2018,” said Piscatella. “The Xbox One Ear Force Recon 70 black gaming headset from Turtle Beach was the best selling headset in April, while the Xbox One Ear Force Stealth 600 wireless headset was the best selling headset since the start of year. “