Amazon loses UK market share in non-digital entertainment to high street

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Amazon has lost market share in non-digital films, video games and music for the first time in at least four years as the high street fights back.

The American online retailer continues to be the UK’s biggest seller of CDs, games and DVDs but its share slipped by 1.2 percentage points to 20.4% in the three months to 27 September, according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

Fiona Keenan, strategic insight director at the market research firm, said Amazon had lost market share for the first time since Kantar’s records began in December 2011. She said it was likely that the online retailer had only gained share for some years before that.

HMV, Game and Argos all increased their share of the physical entertainment market.

“The high street is still very important in entertainment and in this quarter there was a big game release and that’s when physical stores get the opportunity to create a lot of theatre which is particularly suited to games,” Keenan said.

Over the three month period, 68.4% of all physical entertainment sales came through the high street – up from 64.6% last year and the highest since May 2014, when big film releases such as Frozen brought shoppers into stores.

Kantar’s figures do not include sales of digital music, games and films, which are seeing strong growth as the market for physical products shrinks. Amazon is likely to be gaining market share of the total entertainment market with digital included.

Keenan suggested that Amazon’s sales of DVDs might have been affected by the company’s focus on expanding its Amazon Prime film streaming service.

“This could be something Amazon is consciously doing,” she said.

But online retailer Play, which also operates as Rakuten, lost market share as well, as did Tesco, which is the UK’s second biggest retailer of non-digital entertainment products, and Asda.

HMV was the strongest performer, helped by successful multi-buy promotional campaigns across both video and music, which helped it narrow the gap with Amazon by 2.5 percentage points.

The launch of EA Sports’ FIFA 16 towards the end of September also had a particular influence on the physical market.

Keenan said: “This strong performance has been led by the games market in particular, where high street spend grew by 7% in the past quarter.” The strong high street sales compared with an 8% decline in total sales of physical games, including via the internet.

With the launch of blockbuster games titles such as Fallout 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront still to come this year, Keenan suggested there could be better results for the market in the next quarter.

Kantar figures do not include sales of vinyl records, which are currently seeing a sales resurgence at retailers such as HMV.

Powered by article was written by Sarah Butler, for The Guardian on Monday 2nd November 2015 00.01 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010