It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch so far has been an amazing success. It has sold out worldwide both its initial and subsequent shipments. A little over a month has passed since launch and demand continues to outstrip supply. This is bringing back memories of the Wii days where the system was hard to find on retail shelves for about two years after launch. But, isn’t it too soon to make any solid predictions? Don’t consoles normally sell out at launch?
Perhaps the analysts have paid attention to Nintendo’s savvy marketing and positive customer reaction to the unveiling of the Switch last year. This has helped propel them to the forefront of video game news and the stellar reception of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has given the new console a blockbuster must-have game right from the start. This failed to happen with the 3DS and the Wii U and as a result both launches floundered. Nintendo’s stock prices have reflected the sales buzz by outperforming the Japanese stock market by 20 percentage points from March 3 through yesterday. That’s more than double the 8.9 percentage points from the first month of the original Wii’s launch back in 2006. Comparing that to the Wii U, which saw a 30 point lag compared to the rest of the Japanese stock market, and you can see that the investor reaction to Switch is dramatically better.
The question then becomes: Does the stock price predict how well a console will sell? I doubt you’d find anyone who would say it does with certainty, but trends do exist and it looks like Switch is on the path to do quite well. How well is anyone’s guess, and indeed, even the analysts are all over the map with predictions. For this next fiscal year (April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018), the following predictions for number of Switch units that Nintendo will sell over the next 12 months have been made by different financial firms:
Jefferies (April 5) – 5 million
Bank of America (March 23) – 6.5 million
SMBC Nikko (April 6) – 7.5 million
Mizuho (March 21) – 10 million
Ace Institute Research (March 21) – 13 to 16 million
One obstacle that could potentially stand in the way of Nintendo’s success is its ability to increase supply for the Switch. This hampered the original Wii’s sales for the first few years, so all eyes will be looking to Nintendo on April 27 when it announces its forecasts for Switch sales over the next year. We will, of course, have a full report on those estimates from Nintendo once they’re announced.
[Source: Bloomberg | Quint]