Given how successful games such as Rovio’s Bad Piggies have been, it’s not shocking that mobile gaming hasn’t peaked yet. According to the NPD Group’s latest Mobile Gaming 2012 report, 23 percent of 5,923 “app gamers” surveyed said they played games exclusively on mobile devices and nearly 50% of them said they played more mobile games this year compared to 2011. The NPD Group cited two reasons for the rapid increase in app gamers: free games and convenience. While many app games do start out free, 30 percent of those surveyed said they had made in-app purchases or upgraded from the free version to the paid one.
The two largest carriers in the U.S., Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), have been heavily promoting their shared data plans since they launched this past summer. Now that the days of unlimited data are coming to an end, users are more cautious about what they download. New research from NPD Group revealed that Android smartphone users have begun to prioritize Wi-Fi over cellular networks, Fierce Wireless reports. The research firm found that users downloaded an average of 2.5GB per month on Wi-Fi, compared to roughly 870MB of data on cellular networks. A further breakdown of the numbers revealed that young adults aged 18 to 24 unsurprisingly use the largest amount of cellular data, averaging 1.05GB per month, compared to adults aged 55 and older who average just 750MB a month. On Wi-Fi, users between the ages of 25 and 34 used the most data, however, averaging 3.01GB per month, compared to 1.42GB of Wi-Fi data used by adults aged 55 and older. NPD’s findings come from a sample of 1,000 Android smartphone owners on various networks. More →
For the first time ever, shipments of LCD TVs fell year-over-year, declining just over 3% to 43 million units. The decline had a noticeable impact on the market, with total TV shipments falling almost 8% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2012, the steepest decline since the second quarter of 2009. According to the latest report from DisplaySearch, quarterly TV shipments reached only 51 million units. “Soft demand and cautious expectations about the upcoming year in many parts of the TV supply chain have led to a slowdown in shipments,” noted Paul Gagnon, NPD DisplaySearch Director of North America TV Research. “Key component prices, such as LCD panels, are not expected to decline much in 2012, and many brands are concentrating on improving their bottom line. Both of these trends will contribute to slowing unit volume among a price conscious consumer market.” Samsung’s global flat panel TV revenue share remained near record levels, almost 26%. The South Korean manufacturer was also the only vendor of the top five flat panel TV brands to see year-over-year revenue growth during the first quarter of 2012. Read more for DisplaySearch’s press release. More →
The NPD Group on Wednesday released the results of its monthly Mobile Phone Track service, and determined Apple was the top-selling smartphone vendor in the United States. The Cupertino-based company’s market share increased by 7% in the first quarter year-over-year and totaled 29% of all U.S. smartphones. Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone and overall mobile phone vendor, followed closely on Apple’s heels and saw tremendous growth of 140% to grab a 24% share of the market. During the same period, LG, HTC, Motorola and RIM all saw their shares drop. More →
NPD Group on Thursday released the results of its Apple Ecosystem Study, which suggests that almost 25% of U.S. iPad owners are first-time Apple buyers. The firm’s data, as reported by AppleInsider, indicated that 33% of U.S. households own Apple products, with a majority owning an iPod. That number is growing beyond the 37 million American households the Cupertino-based company’s products are already found in, thanks to Apple’s flagship tablet. “iPad sales are growing much faster than any other Apple product has this soon after launch,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD. “In fact, one-in-five Apple owner households has one — nearly equivalent to the number that own an Apple computer. This demonstrates the appeal of both the new form factor and Apple’s app ecosystem.” The study found that six out of ten homes with a Mac also own a Windows PC, and nearly 30% of so-called “Apple enthusiasts” own a smartphone other than the iPhone. The data comes from a survey NPD conducted in February of more than 3,000 consumers. More →
Smartphones with 4G connectivity grew from 6% in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 35% in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a report from The NPD Group. HSPA+ “4G” accounted for 22% sales, however, leaving LTE and WiMAX technologies with a much less impressive share of the smartphone market. Older HSPA+ technology was the only 4G offered by AT&T up until recently, and it is still the only 4G technology offered by T-Mobile. The firm also counts AT&T’s iPhone 4S among the 4G phones sold last quarter, giving the category a significant boost. LTE-enabled handsets, on the other hand, accounted for just 7% of the smartphone market, while WiMAX made up only 6%, dropping from its third-quarter high of 10%. Verizon’s HTC Thunderbolt was the most popular LTE handset in the fourth quarter last year, while Sprint’s HTC EVO was the most popular WiMAX device. Read on for NPD’s press release. More →
The video game industry continued to struggle in the United States last month as sales slid yet again according to market research firm The NPD Group. After dropping 34% year-over-year to $750.6 million in January, total video game hardware, software and accessory sales in the U.S. dipped to $1.06 billion in February, down 20% from the same period in 2011. Hardware sales dropped 18% to $381.4 million, software sales declined 23% to $464.4 million and accessory sales were down 16% to $215.2 million. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other methods to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $550 – $600 million in sales, which would bring total content spend across both retail and these other spend methods to $1.0B-$1.1B for February,” NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier said. “Our official quarterly estimate of the total Q1 2012 consumer spend in these areas will be released in our Q1 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report in June.” Frazier noted that Microsoft’s Xbox was the best-selling hardware platform in February for the seventh straight month. NPD’s list of the top-10 best-selling software titles in February follows below. More →
Sales of video game hardware and software in the United States plummeted last month according to new data from market research firm The NPD Group. The firm’s January figures suggest that sales of video game hardware fell 38% to $199.5 million, down from $324 million in January 2011. Video game software sales slid 38% as well in January, falling to $355.9 million, and sales of accessories in the U.S. dropped 18% year-on-year to $195.2 million. Total industry sales were down 34% to $750.6 million. “January retail performance experienced steep declines with a lack of software launches, and poor Hardware and Accessory performance partly related to bad comps from Kinect-related success in Jan’11,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other ways to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $350 – $400 million in sales.” Callahan noted that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console for the sixth consecutive month in January, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the top-selling software title. A complete list of NPD’s top-10 games for the month follows below. More →
The video game industry capped off a rough year in the United States with a horrible holiday month that saw sales plummet year-over-year across all categories. Market research firm The NPD Group recently released its sales estimates for December 2011 and the full year, and neither set of figures paints a pretty picture. Last month, total industry sales plummeted to $3.99 billion, down 21% from $5.07 billion in December 2010. Hardware sales dropped 28% to $1.32 billion in December, and software sales were down 14% to $2.08 billion. “December was very rough for new physical sales of video games hardware, software and accessories,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “Because of the great slate of content that came to market during the fourth quarter, I had expected December sales to represent a larger portion of total year sales than what occurred. This year, December accounted for just 23% of annual sales, while the average for the past ten years has been 28.” For the full year, hardware sales were down 11% to $5.58 billion, software sales dipped 6% to $8.83 billion and total industry sales slid 8% to $17.02 billion. The NPD Group’s full press release follows below along with a list of the top-10 best-selling games of 2011. More →
Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS dominated the U.S. smartphone space in 2011 while a number of companies that helped shape the market as we know it were forced to reboot. Market research firm The NPD Group on Tuesday issued a report on the smartphone market through October 2011, stating that Android and iOS extended their lead while companies like RIM and Microsoft scrambled to reform their respective strategies. Google’s Android platform represented 53% of the U.S. smartphone market through October in 2011 and Apple’s share grew to 29%. RIM’s market share with the BlackBerry OS dropped to 11% and Microsoft’s Windows Phone continued to struggle out of the gate with less than 2% of the market. “The competitive landscape for smartphones, which has been reshaped by Apple and Google, has ultimately forced every major handset provider through a major transition,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group, in a statement. “For many of them, 2012 will be a critical year in assessing how effective their responses have been.” NPD’s full press release follows below along with a chart breaking down smartphone share in the U.S. by platform. More →
Sales of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game console trounced the competition in November, nearly doubling PlayStation 3 sales and sales of Nintendo’s Wii console. According to November sales data from leading market research firm The NPD Group, Microsoft sold 1.7 million Xbox 360 consoles in November. While Sony managed unit sales growth of about 70% year-over-year, the company only sold about 900,000 PlayStation 3 consoles last month. Nintendo sold 860,000 Wii consoles, 795,000 portable Nintendo 3DS consoles and 350,000 older Nintendo DS units in November. “This is the fourth consecutive month in which the Xbox 360 has been the top selling hardware system,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “The gap between 360 sales and sales of the next best selling platform was the largest we’ve seen since December 2008 when the Nintendo DS was the top selling system.” Total industry sales were up less than 1% to $3.00 billion in November according to NPD, and hardware sales dipped 9% from 2010 to $982.4 million. Software sales were up 15% year-over-year to $1.67 billion but accessory sales dropped 34% to $273.8 million despite strong holiday sales of Microsoft’s Kinect controller. The NPD Group’s list of the 10 best-selling video game titles in November follows below. More →
Video calling has been extremely slow to catch on, but adoption is finally set to explode according to a recent forecast from NPD Group-owned market research firm In-Stat. According to the firm’s figures, 63 million people could be counted as active video calling users in 2010. In 2015, that number is expected to balloon to 380 million. “While the mobile arena is relatively nascent, it has fueled much of the growth in usage over the course of 2011,” In-Stat analyst Amy Cravens said in a statement. PCs will remain the most popular platform for video calling, but the technology’s expansion to smartphones, tablets and even televisions will also play a role in accelerating adoption. Connectivity is key on mobile devices though, and smartphone-based video calling experiences leave much to be desired due to shaky cellular connections. The rapid rollout of 4G LTE networks around the world should help to improve the mobile video calling experience dramatically, however. NPD In-Stat’s full press release follows below.
Sales of video games and video game hardware remained lackluster in October according to market research giant The NPD Group. Overall industry sales in the U.S. grew just 1% to $1.08 billion last month compared to October 2010. Total hardware sales were up 6% year-over-year to $295.6 million in October, and software sales were up 3% to $621.3 million. Sales of video game accessories in the U.S. dipped 5% to $135.9 million last month. Microsoft’s Xbox showed the most impressive growth among home consoles with unit sales up 20% from last October, while sales of Nintendo’s 3DS/DS line topped portable devices with 25% growth. November numbers should be a bit more impressive ahead of the holidays thanks to holiday sales paired with a number of high-profile launches including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which pulled in a record $400 million in sales during its first 24 hours of availability, and Halo Anniversary, which launches on Tuesday. NPD’s list of the top-10 video game titles follows below. More →