In our just completed video game survey for October we find that the Halo 3 effect remains in full force. 80% of stores we called told us that Halo 3 was the best selling video game. Guitar Hero III from Activision was recommended by 6% of respondents which placed the game as the number two game for this month.
On the console front, the race for number one remains fierce. Last month saw for the first time in our survey Xbox consoles be cited as the top seller by a majority of retailers breaking the grip of the Wii. Our new October results show the Wii has inched back into the lead by a small margin (48% versus 47% for Xbox). The Wii’s performance is impressive as we also conducted an auxiliary survey of video game retailers and found that over half were sold out of Wii’s and would need 1-4 weeks to get new supplies. It appears the Wii will be hurt by shortages again this year, which will likely result in our master video game surveys continuing to show Wii and Xbox as a very close 1-2 in console sales. PS3 in our most recent survey was cited by only 2% of respondents as the best selling console. This marks the lowest recording for PS3 ever in our surveys.
For upcoming games we found that Call of Duty 4 is the most often cited “next top game over the next six months” with 20% of respondents followed by Grand Theft Auto 4 with about 12% of respondents. The Mario Brothers series, which consists of several titles that we group together was third with about 8 of respondents calling those games the best ones coming our in the next six months.
We believe that video game and console market share information will be of great interest as the Christmas shopping season approaches and we will begin our November survey soon to continue to bring you the most relevant field data on this topic on the web.
We recently completed a survey on best selling USB drive brands. USB flash drives seem to be a growing trend for off-PC storage for personal and corporate use. In an article at SeekingAlpha Avi Ifergan claims that “SanDisk is the dominant player in all markets it has entered. It has approximately 42% market share in North America; In Europe, it doubled its market share in the last 12 months to 28% and indicated that it is experiencing difficulties in meeting European demand; in Asia and Australia market share is 23%.”
Our just completed survey reveals that Sandisk was cited as the top selling brand by 37% of our respondents down somewhat from the published 42% number (which we believe Avi pulled from NPD group research.) Kingston was a very strong number two as it was cited as the best selling brand by 26% of all respondents. HP did surprisingly well from our perspective and garnered top selling mentions from 19% of our respondents. These answers we believe could be favoring the HP brand in total as opposed to being objective about just UBS drives. We called into many office and consumer elelectronics stores which all do significant business in HP products as a family including computers, printers and peripherals besides USB drives.
Memorex (11%) PNY (7%), Tanscend (4%) and Sony (4%) were also mentioned by some survey respondents as the best selling USB drive brand.
We are working on asking Geek Squad locations within the Best Buy retail chain how long it takes them to come and perform an in-home visit. We had learned that the average time had dropped to about 3 days down from 6 days previously. We thought we would check it out.
Our survey did reveal that the average time for an in-home visit was about 3-days across the Geek Squad population we surveyed. Some were as long as 6 days still and a few as short as 1 day. What is more interesting to us is whether these in-home appointment times were faster or slower than six months ago. The answer according to 42% of our respondents was faster. Another third said it was the same and the minority reported it was a slower response time.
We were also interested in knowing why response times had changed (if at all) and what the driver in the changes were. The most common answer (25%) was that there are now more Geek Squad locations and more Geeks staffing these locations. The second most common reason was that some respondents believe the number of customer problems is decreasing with the launch of Vista and that newer computers have fewer problems. While some technical gurus may find the ease of use of Microsoft products as a dubious driver of a decrease in problems we are inclined to accept the information in our survey.
Overall, faster response times are good for customers and the public perception of the Best Buy Geek Squad. We do not know this translates into greater levels of business for Best Buy itself but we hope to survey the stores and see if they believe the Geek Squad helps to drive increased business to Best Buy stores.
The Channel Checkers September DART channel check and analysis estimates that optionsXpress will report a 55% year over year increase in DARTS for the Quarter ended September 30, 2007. For September, DARTS are estimated to have increased to 37,127– a 4% increase over August 2007.
The September DART Forecast report will be available in The Channel Checkers archives November 15th (www.thechannelcheckers.com
A copy of the full September report is for purchase from The Channel Checkers directly by calling 415.359.9153 or e-mailing email@example.com.