Almost 200,000 games consoles were sold in the UK during May, according to sales tracker GfK Entertainment.
It's a rise of 17% over the same four week period the year before. If we compare the numbers to May 2019 when there wasn't a pandemic on, console sales in 2021 are up 162%.
The biggest performer was comfortably PlayStation 5, which saw an influx of new stock coming to market after two slow months. Xbox Series S and X also had a decent month in terms of stock, but had to settle for second place. Nintendo Switch, which has remained fairly consistent all year, is narrowly behind in third spot.
Switch sales are down year-on-year currently. Nintendo's console enjoyed a big boost in March, April and May 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which explains the unfavourable comparison. If we compare this year's performance to 2019, Switch sales are up 60% year-to-date.
Overall, UK console sales for 2021 are up 22% over the same period last year.
The surge in PS5 sales is clear from the accessories charts. The DualSense controller reclaims the No.1 position, followed closely by the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset. The new accessory of the month is the Xbox Camo Day Strike Wireless Controller, which debuts at No.11.
In total, 615,000 accessories were sold in the UK last month according to GfK panel data. This is up 2.6% over April, but down 23% over May 2020. According to GfK, gaming accessories last year peaked in May (whereas software and hardware peaked in April). This is because there's often a lag between people buying a console and then getting add-on controllers, headsets and so on. Last year, certain gaming accessories (such a gaming keyboards and gaming chairs) were bought as home office equipment.
If we move over to charts supplier GSD, we can see how AAA games performed across retail and digital.
Almost 2.1 million games were sold (digital and physical) in the UK during May, according to GSD. That's a drop of 39% over the same period the year before, when the industry was seeing strong sales as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
1.2 million games were digitally downloaded via Steam, PSN, Xbox Store and Nintendo eShop, which is a drop of 54% over last year. 885,000 were sold via UK physical retailers, which is actually an increase of 8.2% over May 2020. Games retailers were closed last May, and there was a severe lack of new releases (which is where physical retailers tend to perform best).
The best-selling game of May 2021 was Resident Evil: Village, which outsold its nearest rival -- Mass Effect: Legendary Edition -- by nearly double. 43% of Resident Evil sales were on PS5, 31% on Xbox, 15% on PS4 and 11% on PC.
Other new releases in May included Hood: Outlaws & Legends at No.13. Meanwhile, Nintendo's Miitopia makes No.19. Nintendo doesn't share digital data with GSD, so it's possible, even likely, that the game would have charted higher.
GSD May 2021 Top 20 Games (Digital + Physical)
|1||Resident Evil: Village (Capcom)|
|2||Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (EA)|
|3||FIFA 21 (EA)|
|4||Grand Theft Auto 5 (Rockstar)|
|5||NBA 2K21 (2K Games)|
|6||Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Sony)|
|7||Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Activision Blizzard)|
|8||Animal Crossing: New Horizons* (Nintendo)|
|9||Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar)|
|10||New Pokemon Snap* (Nintendo)|
|11||Mortal Kombat 11 (Warner Bros)|
|12||Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft)|
|13||Hood: Outlaws & Legends (Focus Home Interactive)|
|14||Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury* (Nintendo)|
|15||Pokémon Sword* (Nintendo)|
|16||Mario Kart 8: Deluxe* (Nintendo)|
|17||Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (Ubisoft)|
|20||It Takes Two (EA)|
* Digital data unavailable
GSD digital data includes games from participating companies sold via Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo Eshop. Participating companies are Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Big Ben Interactive, Capcom, Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Focus Home Interactive, Koch Media, Konami, Microids, Microsoft, Milestone, Paradox Interactive, Quantic Dream, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Strelka, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Nintendo and Bethesda are the notable absentees, alongside smaller studios.