GfK tackles Kiwi market

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GfK Marketing Services, ex-Inform Business Development, has moved into the New Zealand market, starting with a focus on the booming electronic games industry.

This will include both PC games and consoles such as Playstation and Xbox. GfK account director Phil Burnham said it would also be extended to include PC hardware, business software and eventually the toy industry.

Burnham said that a lot of the major distributors are the same as in Australia.

GfK bought Inform Business Development on June 6, and at that point Inform had already started measuring sales of Console and PC games in New Zealand.

Now with five weeks data under its belt it has a weekly sales chart available on its Web site.

Electronic Arts New Zealand general manager Mike Wynands estimates New Zealand's games industry is $NZ94 million annually based on GfK's early figures. Burnham, however, declined to do an annual estimate at this early stage.

At least two retailers are yet to start providing figures to GfK. The Warehouse is a major cut-price superstore in New Zealand, and Central Park Interactive is a specialist game store which is reputed to command more than 10 percent of the market.

Despite this, Burnham is already confident of key trends in the market, which he said is not dissimiliar to Australia.

According to Burnham, for Q1 Australia PC games commanded 31 percent of the market by volume and 22 percent by value, but the main growth is coming from new console sales.

For consoles Q1 2003 over Q1 2002 saw growth of 29 percent by unit and 25 percent by value. In comparison, PC games software grew by one percent by unit with zero growth by value.

Burnham said that in Australia 40 percent of PC games are now under AU$20 while 25 percent are under 10. That “impulse buy” end of the PC games market is growing while the high end is dropping.

He predicts high-end PC games will come under more pressure as console games develop on-line capability. PC hardware is not measured because of difficulties establishing the reason PCs are bought.

Local distributors in the New Zealand market include Electronic Arts, Atari, Roadshow, Sony Computer Entertainmnt, Monaco, Take 2 Interactive, Total Interactive, Flying Kiwi, Microsoft and Tech Pacific.

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