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Music, video and games markets were pandemic winners

Written by: Emma Lunn
Lockdown proved a money-spinner for the combined music, video and games market which grew faster than any other leisure sector in 2020.

Retail spending on these sectors was up 18.3%, according to figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), as Brits were forced to stay at home.

Spending on music, games and videos reached a record £9.26bn. Games remained the biggest single sector, accounting for 48% of aggregate sales, followed by video (35%) and music (17%).

The fastest growing digital sector in 2020 was video, where sales soared by 37.7% to £2.9bn, driven mainly by the growth of subscription services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

The sales of video console games were up 7.7% to £638.5m, driven by the launches of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series.

The headline 18.3% increase in entertainment spending in 2020 was the highest recorded growth rate the UK market has ever seen. The final £9.26bn tally marks the eighth successive year of growth for the sector, mostly driven by streaming.

However, the overall leisure sector – which includes everything from hobbies, sport and eating out to holidays abroad – shrunk 29.1%.

Kim Bayley, CEO of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), said: “The entertainment market was already growing without coronavirus, but with much of the leisure sector shuttered due to lockdown, music, video and games were in the right place at the right time.”

Other leisure sector lockdown winners include entertainment hardware (up 3.7% to £25.7bn), gambling (up 1.3% to £14.9bn) and house and garden (up 1.2% to £18.7bn).

Overseas holidays took the biggest hit, with spending in the sector falling 65.8% to £21.3bn. UK holidays fell 43.8% to £8.9bn, local entertainment 40.8% to £6.3bn, and eating out 40.2% to £37.9bn.

The ERA said that while ‘in home’ leisure spending of all types grew by 2.3% in 2020 to £77.7bn, ‘away from home’ expenditure including eating out, events and holidays declined 38.6% to £154.1bn.

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