M+E Connections

Nintendo Switch Demand Strong in First Week

Initial demand for the Nintendo Switch hybrid home video game console and portable system has been strong since its global launch March 3, and supplies were still spotty at U.S. retail stores and web sites March 10.

Nintendo of America (NOA) didn’t say how many consoles it shipped or sold in the system’s first week. The company only issued a statement saying March 3-7 Switch sales in the Americas were “the highest for the first five days of sales for any system in Nintendo’s history.” It didn’t confirm the accuracy of news reports that said Nintendo sold 330,637 consoles in Japan alone in the first three days.

The “limited supply is selling out,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said Friday, estimating that Nintendo probably sold 1 million consoles globally in the first week.

Toys R Us was among U.S. retailers that reported strong initial consumer demand. “They clearly sold out very quickly” after going on sale at Toys R Us stores March 3, Meghan Sowa, a spokeswoman for the retailer, told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) March 10. Toys R Us received additional supplies March 5, she said.

“Nintendo Switch is a hot item at Target and across the industry, and we are working hard with Nintendo to keep up with demand,” Target spokesman Lee Henderson said. He added: “There will be a regular flow of additional systems throughout the year, but we expect to sell out quickly. We encourage guests to check their local Target store for product availability.“

Best Buy listed the $299.99 Switch as sold out at its web site March 10. Like the other retailers, it declined to provide specific sales data. Best Buy spokesman Shane Kitzman said only that customers turned out at his company’s more than 600 stores for its Switch midnight launch events.

“Sales have been very strong in all regions, so those” consumers who ordered Switch before the launch or waited outside of stores at launch were apparently able to get one, independent game industry analyst Billy Pidgeon said. He added that it seemed like Switch hardware “sold through quickly online and at stores, so secondary market sellers are jacking up prices while supply is low.”

One clear example of that: While Amazon itself apparently wasn’t selling the Switch March 10, several third parties were selling the system on Amazon.com at inflated pricing starting at $439.99.