Steve Redmond on how Christmas gift-buying is putting the digital download back in its box

Monday December 16, 2013

High Street retailers have long remarked on the deficiencies of digital content when it comes to Christmas present-buying - "You can't gift-wrap a download," they point out.

This week's albums market brings a ringing endorsement of that view with physical's market share soaring as mums, dads, brothers, sisters hit the stores to buy their gifts.

Year-to-date sales of Top 40 albums are of course overwhelmingly dominated by physical with a 69.7% share of sales, according to Official Charts Company Data, compared with digital's 30.3%.

But in the past week (Week 50), physical's share of Top 40 sales has jumped to 88.5%, meaning downloads accounted for less than an eighth of the market.

Were it not for the surprise release of Beyonce's currently digital-only new album, physical's share would have been even higher at 92.1%.

It is a long-standing fear of physical retailers that the three major record companies would like to be shot of the CD entirely, a suspicion that their suppliers could certainly do more to quell.

For the moment at least, however, even the most resolutely pro-digital record company executive would be hard-pressed to justify axing a format generating nine out of 10 of Christmas chart sales.

Share with