23 AUG 2021

What was the best-selling videogame console in the second quarter of the year?

The second quarter of 2021's big sell-through winner was Microsoft, with global sales of Xbox Series X|S consoles increasing 16% quarter-on-quarter to 1.35 million, according to data from Ampere Analysis.

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Gaming continues to grow rapidly, and despite the fact that mobile is emerging as the segment with the greatest potential, consoles continue to be attractive to a large number of consumers. The second quarter of 2021's big sell-through winner was Microsoft, with global sales of Xbox Series X|S consoles increasing 16% quarter-on-quarter to 1.35 million, according to data from Ampere Analysis. The improved sales performance was down to better product availability and a consumer willingness to buy in at a cheaper price point for the Xbox Series S.

Xbox Series X|S still trailed PlayStation 5 family sales at 2.15 million on a global basis but the gap was narrowed compared to the first quarter largely down to lesser availability of Sony's consoles from April to June. Sony's position remains globally strong reflecting its entrenched brand allegiance outside of Microsoft's traditionally stronger markets.

Nintendo's Switch sales were down 18% year-on-year to 4.2 million, but a decline was expected considering Q2 2020 was an exceptional year with the backdrop of the pandemic, strong availability of the Switch Lite and the release of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” which sold impressively through much of last year.

Meanwhile, Sony confirmed sell-in of 10.1 million PS5 consoles as of end of June 2021, slightly behind that of the PS4 in the same time frame at 10.2 million. PS5 console family lifetime sell-through reached 9.57 million at end of June 2021 ahead of all previous PlayStation consoles, and actually all previous TV consoles from other companies. The small difference between sell-in and sell-through illustrates the very tight supply Sony is experiencing in the market. PS5 remains largely sold out in all major markets with new supply drops selling out very quickly. 

Xbox Series X|S sell-through in its first three quarters on the market has outperformed the Xbox One, or any previous Xbox launch in the same time frame. Lifetime sell-through reached 5.32 million units at end of June 2021, compared to 5.1 million for Xbox One. Channel checks across some major markets show that Microsoft has experienced better ongoing availability of Xbox Series S at retail compared to either Xbox Series X or PS5, both of which struggle to stay on shelves for any length of time.

Lastly, Nintendo Switch's decline following Q2 2020 was expected, and while we are heading into the later stages of the Switch lifecycle, the launch of the Switch OLED in Q4 2021 (set to replace the existing flagship through 2022) and pipeline of highly anticipated titles will ensure substantial ongoing sales up until the launch of a next-gen Nintendo console currently forecast to enter the market in late 2024. Cumulative sell-through of Nintendo Switch family of consoles reached 85.8 million at end of June 2021.