Retailers around the world including in Australia have admitted that they will be unable to cope with unprecedented demand for Nintendo Wii consoles this Christmas, as appetite for the video games units continues to grow.
New stocks are selling out within hours of delivery, websites are crashing and some online “clearing houses” – which alert shoppers to the whereabouts of new stock – are being contacted by 100,000 people a day.
In Australia Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi claim that the competitor to the Xbox 360 and the Sony Playstation will be on limited supply however both chains have supply. A spoksperson for Harvey Norman said: “We have stock but consumers will have to get in quick.”
In the UK, Dixons.co.uk, the website, sold out of thousands of consoles within two hours of them going online late last week. Amazon, another online retailer, is believed to have sold 1,400 machines in a 10-minute period last week. The consoles are being sold on auction sites such as eBay for almost twice their $395 retail price.
Trevor Bish-Jones, the chief executive of Woolworths in the UK, said the supply of Wiis will not be enough to satisfy demand this Christmas.
“There is a steady flow of Wiis into the country between now and Christmas. It will not be enough to meet all consumer demand but is sufficient for retailers to enjoy good levels of sales in the run-up to Christmas,” he said.
Nintendo has said that it is trying to cope with the demand. Some consumers are ordering the consoles from French and German sites, where demand is lower, said a spokesman for Wii-consoles.co.uk, which locates consoles for shoppers. The site has “well over” 100,000 visits a day.
Tom Heaton of StockNetwork.co.uk, a similar site, has a mailing list of 12,000 people looking for Wiis. Bish-Jones said Woolworths’ website received 20,000 hits within an hour of news of a fresh delivery leaking.
DSGi, the electricals retailer that owns Currys and Dixons.co.uk, will this week start selling the latest trend for eco-friendly shoppers: wooden television sets.
The so-called “Tree-Vs” are built entirely from wood from sustainable forests – apart from the electronics – and are being billed as a must-have recyclable item for ethical consumers.
The retailer has ordered 5,000 of the sets from Swedx, the Swedish manufacturer. The flat screen Tree-Vs, which will sell for $999 are available in three “woods”: ash, sapele and beech.