Nintendo Switch Shipped By Air To Meet Initial Release Date Demands, Now They Are Hoping To Match Wii Sales

Nintendo only released its new Switch device at the start of March. However, the demand for their latest console has meant Nintendo has had to send some units by air rather than via the more economical and usual shipping service.

Usually, when Nintendo sends new units from the manufacturer to retail outlets, the shipment is made by boat. This method is economical but slow. Since March though, when the Switch hit the stores, Nintendo has had to resort to air delivery services in order to meet demand.

“We carried some of the Switches by plane in March to serve our customers more promptly,” a Nintendo spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal recently.

It is unclear which locations received the air-shipped Switch devices. However, the Wall Street Journal suggests that units shipped via air could have come from manufacturers in China for destinations in Europe and the U.S.

Initially, when the Switch was announced in October 2016, Nintendo intended for 2 million units to be made available on its March 3 release date. Instead, Nintendo upped the ante and managed to get 2.74 million Switch units into stores and ready for sale by release day.

Sending the extra Switch units via air is a costly procedure and something that should not be taken lightly. After all, it means cutting the profit margin on each unit delivered this way. Therefore, Nintendo had to hope the hype garnered from new Switch owners converted into more sales further on down the track when Nintendo returned to boat shipping.

“Air is a big profit-squeezer because it could cost additional ¥5,000 [$59] per unit,” said Ace Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda.

According to Kotaku, Nintendo went back to shipping via boat in April, meaning a return to Nintendo’s original profit margin expectation.

Nintendo Switch, Classic NES Mini console
[Image by Nintendo]

But, was Nintendo being too preemptive when it decided to ship early Switch consoles via air? As one reader on Kotaku pointed out, perhaps Nintendo should be focusing more on meeting demand for their new retro NES Mini consoles that have been consistently not meeting consumer demand. Added to this is the fact that the previous Nintendo console, the Wii U was not a popular option with gamers.

According to figures though, regardless of whether Nintendo is lacking in production demands for their NES Mini console and desirability for their Wii U, they are likely making up for with their new Switch unit. As Slash Gear pointed out, while Nintendo’s hugely successful Wii console has, to date, sold more than 100 million units, the Nintendo device that followed, the Wii U, “only managed to sell around 13.5 million units before Nintendo moved onto the Switch.”

Nintendo Switch, Wii console
[Image by Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

Considering Nintendo has already made 2.74 million Switch consoles available in store on its March release date, the relatively paltry Wii U sales to date certainly look like they could be exceeded by the Switch console. Nintendo’s president Tatsumi Kimishima also revealed in the recently released financial report for Nintendo that they aimed to move around 35 million Switch units in this financial year alone.

Kimishima also insisted reaching the mythical 100 million unit sales heights of the original Wii console was completely within reason, stating the fact the new Switch was not only a stagnant gaming console but able to used “on the go.” This means they anticipate multiple devices in households that purchase Nintendo Switch consoles.

“If our sales go according to our plan this fiscal year, we will be able to see Nintendo Switch gaining the momentum in which it can approach relative parity with Wii afterward. Plus, considering that Nintendo Switch is a home console video game system that you can take with you on the go so you can play anytime, anywhere, with anyone, we think there will be households that feel as though one is not really enough. This is another point that drives us to match the scale of Wii’s popularity with Nintendo Switch.”

Have you bought the new Nintendo Switch yet? If so, do you think it is worth all the hype? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]