Study: Nine In Ten UK Game Sales Went Digital In 2022

Image credit: Tencent

Industry figures find nearly nine in ten video game sales were digital downloads last year, amidst pandemic-inspired home entertainment surge

Digital sales made up nearly 90 percent of all video game sales in the UK last year, an industry group has found.

Digital entertainment and retail association ERA found the overall UK home entertainment market jumped 39 percent from 2019 to 2022, with the Covid-19 pandemic spurring sales.

Gaming was the largest sector, accounting for 42.1 percent of the total, with 89.5 percent of sales being digital downloads and the remaining 10.5 percent physical copies.

Mobile apps sold through app stores comprised about 30 percent of the total.

The PlayStation 5. Image credit: Sony digital
The PlayStation 5. Image credit: Sony

Digital sales

Total video games sales amounted to £4.7 billion, followed by video at £4.4bn and music at £1.98bn.

Streaming and digital formats accounted for £10.1bn of overall entertainment sales in 2022, up 8.4 percent on 2021.

While music sales were the smallest portion of the three categories, ERA chief executive Kim Bayley noted that the industry was within sight of surpassing £2bn in sales value for the first time in more than two decades.

This was due to the popularity of streaming services on the one hand and the revival of vinyl in physical stores on the other, Bayley said.

Supply chain impact

She called gaming the “often-unheralded leader” of the entertainment market, with “enormous” scale, in spite of lower growth than video or music at 2.3 percent.

Separately, data from GfK found that two million gaming consoles were sold last year, a drop of 29 percent from the year before, largely due to ongoing stock shortages of the PlayStation5 and a 27.5 percent drop in sales of the Nintendo Switch, which however remains the UK’s most popular console.