The UK music, video and games markets could break the £10bn sales barrier this year with revenues up nearly a quarter since 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, according to preliminary figures from ERA, the trade body for UK digital services and retailers of music, video and games.
The preliminary 2021 figures show the music, video and games markets generated another all-time-record sales total of £9,716.1m, its ninth successive year of growth.
Contrary to fears that 2020’s lockdown boom in streaming was a one-off, digital streams and sales continued to grow through 2021 with music revenues up another 8.7% and video up 13.3%. Only games faltered with sales down 3.3%, but that was still nearly 14% more than in 2019, the last full year before Covid-19 struck.
“The entire sector was braced for revenues to settle down in 2021 after 2020 grew an astonishing 18.7%, but growth continued – for the ninth successive year,” commented Kim Bayley, ceo at ERA. “Strikingly this growth is increasingly independent of new release activity; the vast majority of this growth being driven by digital services making entertainment more accessible and convenient than ever before.
“If we can repeat this success in 2022, the UK entertainment market will exceed £10bn for the first time.”
Nearly 90 pence in every pound spent on music, video and games is now online. Total digital revenues grew by 8.3% in 2021 to £8.66bn, more than the entire entertainment market was worth just two years ago. Overall physical revenues declined 18.5% in 2021, but there was one notable exception: physical revenues in music grew by 7.3%, their first growth since 2001, driven by the continuing boom in sales of vinyl, up 23.2% to £135.6m.
Kim added: “The return of physical music sales to growth a full two decades since they started to decline is nothing short of a miracle. It is a testament more than anything to the doggedness and resilience of physical retailers, led by the indies, who have driven the vinyl revival in the face of some initial scepticism.”
Within the video games category, the best selling game yet again was the latest edition of football title, FIFA. The new FIFA 22 sold 917,000 units on physical alone, with an additional 1.3m digital units taking it to more than 2.2m in total.
Kim added: “The UK games market is more than double the size it was 10 years ago, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% which is extraordinary by any standards.”