It’s still hard for young consumers to get their hands on the newest gaming consoles—so how many have actually bought them?
This holiday season, a great tradition returned: the great gaming console wars. In November, Microsoft launched the new Xbox Series XIS, and Sony released the PlayStation 5, continuing a decades long rivalry for young consumers’ attention and wallets. Usually, consoles are a major focus for holiday shopping. But the consoles have been nearly impossible to find, with websites crashing under demand and both Xbox and PlayStation sold out everywhere. In fact, restocks of the consoles have been making headlines all this month.
After they launched, we asked Gen Z and Millennials if they planned to buy any of the new gaming consoles, and found a full 59% of Millennials had plans to buy one in the coming months, or had already bought one. The demand for the consoles has been clear, but how many young consumers have been able to buy one—and which have they gotten? Our Post-Holiday Shopping Review Report asked Gen Z and Millennials these questions.
According to our data, Millennials were driving the console rush before the holidays, and they are, in fact, more likely to have purchased one—by a little:
A little over a quarter of Millennials 20-38-years-old and 21% of Gen Zs 13-19-years-old say they have purchased a new gaming console in the last few months. That’s a far cry from the number who planned to purchase one, showing there are likely to be sell-outs of these products for potentially months to come. But we also know that some also received a gaming console for the holidays as a gift. Our Post-Holiday Shopping Review survey found that 25% of Gen Z and 16% of Millennials received video games or a gaming console as a gift for the 2020 holidays, which of course impacts the number who would actually purchase for themselves.
But as we saw in the fall (and in all our gaming data) the biggest differences in gaming behavior and purchasing still lies between young males and females:
Nearly a third of 13-39-year-old males say that they have purchased one of the new gaming consoles, compared to 20% of young females. Millennial males were the most likely to report buying a console, with 34% saying they have done so, compared to 20% of Gen Z males.
So what brand is winning the console wars? We also asked young consumers which of the consoles they purchased, and found that as we predicted in the fall, Playstation is the most popular overall. But again, there are serious differences between young male and young female console buyers:
Overall, 48% of 13-39-year-olds who have purchased a console purchased a Playstation, compared to 37% who purchased an Xbox and 34% who purchased a Nintendo. But young males were nearly split between Playstation and Xbox, and young females were far more likely to say they bought a Nintendo in the last few months.
Interestingly, YPulse’s gaming data shows that females are far more likely to game on mobile, and their preference for Nintendo might parallel this behavior, with Switch the only console that has a handheld screen component.