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According to data gathered by the NPD Group, U.S. consumer spend on hardware in January 2018 more than doubled the numbers reported during the same month last year while software sales rose by over 50 percent.
And while it’s best to take the group’s software sales numbers with a grain of salt, the NPD's data on hardware sales can be a useful tool for game developers to measure the overall growth of the video game industry.
The analyst firm’s regular report says that hardware spending in January grew 119 percent year over year, coming in at $278 million for the month. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella noted that the hardware sales for the first month of this year now mark the second highest dollar amount reported in January, right behind the $323 million sold back in 2011.
Likewise, the NPD Group says that January 2018 was the best month for unit sales since January 2011, with over one million units of video game hardware being sold in January 2018 alone.
All three major players in the video game console market achieved different milestones for January. The Nintendo Switch moved the most individual units, while the NPD Group says that the PlayStation 4 ranked number one when looking at dollar sales. The Xbox One, meanwhile, had its best January to-date with both unit and dollar sales being recorded as the highest it has ever seen during the month.
Piscatella also notes that the difference between the top-selling platform and the third place console was only 3 percent in terms of dollar spend.
Additionally, the NPD Group says that software sales rose by 51 percent when comparing January 2018 to January 2017. The firm says that software sales hit $517 million for the month, though Nintendo notably doesn't share its digital sales with the NPD and numerous other game platforms like Origin, Uplay, and Battle.net typically don't report PC digital sales as well.