Video games and console market benefits from lockdown boost. Pic: Kelly Sikkema for unsplash

Bumper year for the video games and consoles market as sales forecast to exceed £2bn

 2 mins | By Gill Oliver
 | Culture | Entertainment | Publishing | Covid-19 | Software | Nov 17th 2020

It’s been a bumper year for the video games and consoles market, with sales up by more than 50 per cent set to reach almost £2bn, according to new research.

The market reached £1.8bn in 2020, a jump of 55 per cent since 2019 when it was worth £1.2bn and by 2021, the market is forecast to exceed £2bn, says a report published by market analysts Mintel.

The market tends to rely on console launches to boost its way out of yearly declines but the Covid-19 spring/summer lockdown prompted a significant jump in gaming usage.

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Sixty one per cent of consumers who use their console for streaming media from platforms like Netflix did so more often after the Covid-19 outbreak and just over a third of those who use their console for buying games online splashed out on new titles more frequently.

The success of social gaming is also highlighted by the research findings that showed half of console owners prefer to game with friends.

Mintel technology analyst Zach Emmanuel says: “COVID-19 has had a monumental impact on the sales of video games and consoles as Brits looked to stay entertained at home. While consumers’ concerns over finances are expected to have led to a decrease in purchases of technology products overall, it has not been the case for consoles.

“The market has already benefited from the introduction of the new Nintendo Switch Lite in the first half of the year and the recently launched Xbox Series X, and the upcoming PS5 will provide a further boost to the market.”

He adds: “Xbox has also enabled gamers to have greater flexibility over how they play, with the introduction of its new cloud gaming service which gives subscribers access to over a hundred games for a monthly subscription. However, Xbox is positioning cloud gaming as an alternative and not a replacement for a console. Our data shows that 26 per cent of people use consoles would prefer to play games over an internet connection than use a console – highlighting the appeal of Xbox’s new service. Looking more long-term, the continued roll-out of 5G will make it possible for consumers to reliably use cloud gaming on-the-go, away from their console.”

Mintel’s research covered sales of static consoles such as PlayStation 5, hybrid consoles like Nintendo Switch and portable consoles including Nintendo 3DS plus sales of games on these devices. The report carried out consumer research among 2,000 internet users aged 16+ in June 2020.

About the Author

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver is a professionally trained journalist who’s written for The New Statesman, The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, The Daily Mail’s business section This is Money, The Press Association, The Huffington Post plus a host of national magazines, news agencies and trade and industry journals. She’s also spent nine years reporting on the Oxfordshire business and tech scene for The Oxford Times and The Oxford Mail.

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