The PlayStation 3 launches in the UK on Friday and so we did some analysis of search data to get a sense for demand. The PS3 was the most searched for console last week, edging out the Nintendo Wii. However, searchers seem to be price sensitive and are comparing prices to other markets. Also, the volume of searches is lower than when the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii launched.
The share of UK Internet searches for "playstation 3" increased 14% in the past four weeks. Analysis of terms used to search for the console reveal that consumers are on the hunt for cheap consoles and are even comparing prices to overseas markets. The console has come under fire because of its £425 price tag around £120 more than its US retail price. Sony has reportedly hinted that it may reduce prices by year-end.
Among search terms that include the keywords "playstation 3", "cheap playstation 3" was the #4 query based on volume of searches last week. Among searches that include the keyword "ps3", "free ps3" and "cheap ps3" ranked at #4 and #11 respectively. Consumers looked to compare prices to other markets with the queries "ps3 price in dubai" and "60g ps3 price in north america" ranking #2 and #4 respectively among search terms that included the keywords "ps3 price" in the past four weeks.
Online Enthusiasm Muted Compared with Past Console Launches
Seems that console competition has been heating up since Sony unveiled the PlayStation 3 in May 2005. The share of UK Internet searches for the PlayStation 3 was 49% higher in the week the console was unveiled nearly two years ago compared with last week. Searches for the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii in the week before their UK launch also eclipsed those for the PlayStation 3 last week. The share of UK Internet searches for "nintendo wii" were 40% higher the week before its UK release (week ending 2nd December 2006) and the share of UK Internet searches for "xbox 360" were 119% higher the week before its release (week ending 26th November 2005).
The Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 no doubt benefited from well-timed and much-hyped launches in the lead up to the busy Christmas shopping season. Stock shortages and aggressive pricing strategies made the Wii and the Xbox 360 must-have Christmas gifts. The PlayStation 3, suffering a delayed launch due to a manufacturing fault has been launched in a down-time for games consoles and is therefore missing a critical seasonal boost.
For more on the Wii release, you can look at this previous post on most searched for consoles at Christmas.
Heather Hopkins is VP of Research for Hitwise UK. This piece was originally posted on Hitwise Analyst blog here.