According to UKIE’s UK, Consumer Games Market Valuation 2021, the UK video games market has managed to reach a value of £7.16 billion which is the new all-time high.
Compared to the record-breaking year of 2020, during which video games sales went through the roof due to the Covid-19 outbreak, this represents a yearly increase of 1.9%. This data also represents a 32.8% increase compared to 2019.
Hardware sales reached £2.66 billion which is a yearly sales increase of 17.4%. Within this category, console sales have seen an increase of 32.9% to £1.13 billion and VR hardware sales increased by a stunning 41.9% compared to 2020.
Senior client director at GfK Entertainment, Dorian Bloch attributes this to the release of the new consoles, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S as well as the continuous success of the Nintendo Switch.
Dorian indicated that 2021 was the first full calendar year for Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series consoles and that both have made a huge impact in Q4 2020 at launch. He also said that consumer demand outstripped supply, which is why it is no surprise that this is the best year since the all-time peak back in 2008.
He continued the statement by saying that we should not forget that Nintendo’s Switch also enjoyed another big year in 2021 and that this is the fifth year on market for the Switch. He concluded by saying that the market and refreshed a number of times since 2017, most notably with the launch of Switch Lite in 2019 and Switch OLED in 2020.
While hardware sales have increased, software sales on the other hand saw a 6.32% decline to £4.28 billion compared to 2020, however, this is also an 11.4% increase compared to 2019.
Digital sales also saw a slight decline of 5.59% on consoles and 7% on PC. UKIE has attributed this to the limited number of major releases during 2021 compared to games like Animal Crossing New Horizons or The Last of Us Part 2 in 2020.
Physical sales didn’t do any better, with the sales of boxed titles decreasing by 21% compared to 2020. This data includes the sales of both new and pre-owned titles. Currently, the pre-owned market represents £33.8 million while the boxed software represents £511 million.
Mobile software was the only category that didn’t experience a yearly sales decline, managing to reach the value of £1.46 billion.
Lastly, games licensed toys and merchandise reached £159 million in 2021 which is a 33.6% increase compared to 2020. UKIE said that this is due to the success of the Pokemon merchandise.
Jo Twist, the CEO of UKIE indicated that the UK consumer games market has consolidated effectively following significant growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. She continued by saying that the UK is a nation that loves its video games and that we should be proud of the positive contribution this sector makes to the economy, culture, and to wider society.