Sales of video games boosts entertainment sectorConsole games, Blu-ray grow as music sales decline

23 March 2009

Nintendo Wii

Console game buyers are boosting the entertainment industry by continuing to buy new releases despite the credit crunch, reveals a report by the Entertainment Retailers Association.

The Association’s newly published Yearbook reveals that games software accounted for almost 37% of the entertainment retailing market in 2008, just behind video (mainly DVDs, at just over 40%) and well ahead of music at almost 23%.

The continuing rise in games sales is largely due to the success of Nintendo’s Wii console and DS handheld platforms. Games for the two platforms accounted for more than half of the entire games software market.

The 5% increase in overall entertainment retail sales in 2008 came despite the collapse and subsequent sale of the Woolworth's group, and the collapse of Zavvi, the re-branded Virgin Megastores chain.

‘The success of video games is helping entertainment retailers withstand the impact of the financial crisis. These results are particular remarkable given the collapse of Woolworths and Zavvi and the industry’s biggest wholesaler right in the middle of the busy pre-Christmas period,’ said Kim Bayley, director general of the ERA.

Blu-ray and downloads sales

The otherwise hard-pressed video and music sectors were boosted by the sale of Blu-ray and download sales.

‘Strong sales of Blu-ray discs and music downloads show that the consumer’s appetite for entertainment is undimmed. The challenge for both suppliers and retailers is to find products which will inspire the consumer and then present them in an attractive, accessible way,’ said Bayley.

In music, sales of physical singles were down over 40% (volume and value) while sales of single downloads were up by over 40%. Physical album sales were down 6% by volume and 10% by value. Album downloads were up 65% by volume and 53% by value.

Key facts from the ERA Yearbook

• The combined music, video and games sales of 497m units in 2008 equates to just under 20 albums, videos and/or games for every household in the country
• The 5.1% increase in the combined value of video, games and recorded music sales in 2008 outstripped that of other leisure pursuits such as eating out (up 2.8%), reading (up 3.3%) and hobbies and pastimes (up 1.5%)
• Average prices paid for CD albums (£8.10) and DVDs (£8.71) reached new lows in 2008. The average price for video games increased 8% to £22.99
• The biggest-selling video of 2008 was also the biggest-selling entertainment product of 2008 and the biggest-selling video of all time. Mamma Mia sold 5.1m copies in 2008.

Which? RSS news feed

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste into your newsreader. Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to RSS news feeds.

Sign up to the weekly Which? technology email

Keep your finger on the pulse of digital technology with the weekly email from the Which? Technology team. 

Every Tuesday we'll send you the latest news and reviews of MP3 players, mobile phones, cameras, high-definition TVs and other gadgets. 

Packed with the latest product launches, First Look reviews, expert advice and some incredible deals - can you afford not to be the first to find out?

Plus there are regular prize draws - we've already given away a 32GB iPod Touch.