17/11/2021   Piers Harding-Rolls
Console sales Q3 2021: PS5 supply improves bringing it closer to Switch

Console sales Q3 2021: PS5 supply improves bringing it closer to Switch

World console sell-through to consumers across Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo devices reached 9.1 million units during Q3 (July to September) 2021. The sales performance of the latest consoles was largely dictated by availability.

PS5 supply improved in Q3 across Western markets

Nintendo Switch has dominated global sell-through in 2021, but Q3 sales were closer between Nintendo’s family of devices and Sony’s PS5. In particular, Sony made substantial headway in Western markets where supply was improved and where demand was high. This culminated in PS5 outselling Switch in Europe by some distance. NPD also reported that in the US PS5 outsold Switch for the first time in September. However, Nintendo is once again expected to substantially outsell the other consoles in Q4 helped by the launch of Switch OLED, the seasonal momentum Nintendo enjoys and product availability.      

Xbox Series S outsells Series X across several key markets

Microsoft’s two-tier product strategy was a bold move at launch of the Series generation and the lesser-powered Series S has come into its own against a backdrop of component shortages and Xbox Series X supply constraints. As a digital-only product, the strong adoption of Series S is having an outweighed impact on digital games sales to Xbox Series consoles when compared to PlayStation 5. Sony continues to take a more conservative approach to its digital-only PS5 console mix, with the disc-based version of the console taking a dominant position in the market.

PS4 sales are declining at a faster rate than expected

Before the launch of the PS5, Sony announced its intention to continue serving content to the 115 million PS4 installed base for the foreseeable future. This suggested that sales of PS4 hardware would continue on relatively strongly for the next couple of years at least. However, sales in 2021 are weaker than we expected, and this has led us to review our forecasts for the platform. While not in the same category as the slowdown of Xbox One sales, it is less likely that PS4 will emulate the feats of PS2 which continued to sell strongly a number of years into the PS3 lifecycle.

This brings the end of September 2021 lifetime cumulative sell-through (installed base) of each console family to:

  • Switch family - 89.7 million
  • PS5 family - 12.8 million
  • Xbox Series family - 6.7 million

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