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Virtually no one is buying AMD Radeon GPUs

We take a look at how sales of Nvidia GeForce graphics cards compare with Radeon cards at UK retailer Scan, and it’s not good news for AMD.

GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and Radeon RX 6800 XT

AMD GPU sales are nowhere near the level of their Nvidia equivalents at Scan, and I thought it might be interesting to provide my own commentary on the current state of the graphics card market and where it’s headed.

Reviews can tell you which products offer the best bang per buck, but that doesn’t always reflect people’s buying habits. While I can’t provide any specific numbers, as they’re commercially sensitive, this column is based on information available to me working for Scan, the largest graphics card retailer in the UK – in other words, I’m basing it on real supply and demand data, not just speculation.

For instance, while it probably won’t come as a surprise to many of you that Nvidia is still dominating the gaming GPU market, with an overwhelming proportion of market share, it’s still quite shocking to see just how badly the Radeon RX 6000 series is performing. When I talk about performance here, I don’t mean frames per second – that’s a separate topic entirely, but market performance.

The sad truth is that, even with competitive performance in rasterized games, the latest Radeon GPUs, such as the Radeon RX 6700 XT, are continuing to take a beating from GeForce. This is true across the whole landscape of GPUs, none more evident at the high-end, with sales at Scan dominated by the GeForce RTX 3080, closely followed by the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. Then, a fair way behind, but still in third place, is the GeForce RTX 3090 and fourth is the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

That’s zero places among the top four big hitters for a single Radeon GPU. That’s not to say they aren’t selling – they are, but sales are comparatively tiny. What should be particularly worrying for AMD, apart from the fact that it has reasonably competitive products that aren’t selling, at least not at Scan, is that even when there are shortages of particular GeForce GPUs, gamers don’t switch over to buying Radeon GPUs instead.

For example, we recently experienced an even more acute shortage than usual of GeForce RTX 3080 cards, but when faced with this shortage, gamers chose to upgrade to the RTX 3080 Ti instead of an AMD Radeon card. This behavior, incidentally, is a large part of the reason why the combination of a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and Core i9-12900K makes for a popular system spec that we sell.

While this certainly isn’t terminal news for AMD’s GPU division, especially as the company’s consumer and enterprise CPU divisions have been performing extremely well in recent years, it’s not a good sign when you have supply and your products still aren’t selling.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

The sad fact of the matter is that, despite having reasonably competitive GPUs and a slew of game giveaways, Radeon simply doesn’t have the same brand recognition as GeForce. Nvidia’s GeForce division truly excels at marketing, which is always important.

This is particularly the case when you have supply challenges, while also simultaneously having opportunities to exploit, such as so many new gamers entering the market since the start of the pandemic.

What’s more, with a newly confident Intel about to enter the gaming GPU market, AMD’s standing looks set to become rockier. Still, out of the flames of intense competition sometimes, just sometimes, truly astonishing technology emerges. Here’s hoping.

That’s the end of James’ analysis of GPU sales at Scan, and we’d just like to say that while sales are a crucial factor when it comes to commercial success, it’s still worth considering some of AMD’s Radeon GPUs. Since this column was first published in 2021, AMD has also released the Radeon RX 7600, which is our current favorite budget gaming GPU.

If you’re looking to buy a new gaming GPU, then make sure you also check out our guide to the best graphics card, where we take you through all the best options at a range of prices.