Thursday, November 15, 2007

Console Post of the Week: October NPD Numbers

From NPD:
Wii - 519,000
Xbox 360 - 366,000
PlayStation 2 - 184,000
PlayStation 3 - 121,000

These are dead numbers in terms of trends, because the $399 PS3 40GB unit wasn't available until this month. Still, there are some interesting numbers here.

First, the 360 sold 61,000 more units than the PS2 and PS3 combined, and it tripled PS3 sales.

Sony's reporting that PS3 sales have more than doubled in the last two weeks (both in the November NPD period) with the price cut to $399. "It's the breakthrough we've been anticipating," Howard Stringer.

What they're not saying, though, is what they already know about the traditional holiday sales ramp, so let's take a quick look. Compare the numbers for the PS2 from 2002 through 2006.
2002: 500k (Oct), 1.3m (Nov)
2003: 300k (Oct), 850k (Nov)
2004: 330k (Oct), 690k (Nov)
2005: 240k (Oct), 660k (Nov)

Wow. Sales were roughly 2.5x in November compared to the previous month. Is this isolated to the PS2? Let's look at the Xbox.
2002: 240k (Oct), 470k (Nov)
2003: 170k (Oct), 480k (Nov)
2004: 210k (Oct), 700k (Nov)
2005: 110k (Oct), 200k (Nov)

Same deal, basically. And the 360 last year went 218k-511k. That ramp is money every year. So when we look at November NPD numbers in a few weeks, we'll be looking at what Sony sells above 300k, not above 120k, because that's the normal ramp. That will give us a much, much more accurate look at what the price cut is really doing.

By the way, even though Microsoft cut the price several months too late, they have to be pretty pleased with that October number. That translates into roughly 900k consoles in November.

Oh, and if you're wondering about December sales, they roughly double November's sales. So December unit sales are roughly five times October unit sales.

That means Nintendo could sell 2.5 million Wiis in December--if they had the manufacturing resources to supply that many. I don't think they do, so it will be interesting to see how much that limits their sales. If you're thinking that's a ridiculous number, just remember that the PS2 sold 2.7 million in December 2002.

So, based on historical trends, and without accounting for supply constraints or price cuts, the November numbers would look like this:

I think that gives us a much better frame of reference to evaluate what's really happened in November when the numbers get released.

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