Black Friday and Cyber Monday Digital Sales Report

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales push digital spending to a record $4B

Consumers flocked to online retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to take advantage of deep discounts offered by digital storefronts like PlayStation Store and Steam during the busiest shopping days of the holiday season. Overall, digital spending rose 14.3% compared to the same weekend in 2017 thanks to in-game content deals and big releases that include Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII and Red Dead Redemption II. Premium console revenue climbed to $1B worldwide, up 24.5% compared to last year’s sales while premium PC generated $586M, an increase of 18.3% for the segment.

“Video games have become a layered experience,” explained Joost Van Dreunen, Managing Director at SuperData. “Beyond just a big, loud launch, blockbuster titles today rely on a variety of different consumer touchpoints, including live streaming video, real-life events, digital sales, and crossplay multiplayer gameplay. Large publishers like Activision and TakeTwo have managed to incorporate these new avenues into their Q4 releases and the numbers show that audiences have responded in kind.”

In-game spending, which largely consists of gamers buying digital collectibles like character skins, loot boxes and other virtual gear, also posted healthy year-over-year gains during the holiday sales events. Runaway hits like Fortnite made a significant impact in the previously muted category of free-to-play console games, tripling the segment’s worldwide revenue to $64M compared to the same time period a year ago. In the U.S., in-game spending made up 80.1% of all digital games revenue in 2017, contributing $15.3B to all digital games spending that year, a share that is expected to remain steady in 2018.

The surge in digital games spending also comes from a growing preference among gamers to purchase their games digitally. According to a recent SuperData survey, 42% of gamers buy most or all of their games digitally compared to only 27% of gamers who do so for physical copies. This trend is expected to accelerate in 2019 as consumers begin to gravitate toward Netflix-style subscription services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass that give gamers access to popular on-demand titles on launch day.