UK consumer spend on games grows 10% to a record £5.7bn in 2018

12th April 2019

UK consumer spend on games grows 10% to a record £5.7bn in 2018

The UK market for games was valued at a record £5.7bn in 2018, representing +10.0% growth on the previous year.

2018 was solid growth across the game software and hardware markets, with software revenues eclipsing £4bn for the first time, up +10.3% to £4.01bn. Similar growth was seen in game hardware, up +10.7% to a new high of £1.57bn.


The valuation also included an analysis of consumer spend on wider game-related culture, which generated an additional £109.6m.

In the software market, data from IHS Markit showed a significant increase in digital and online revenues, up +20.3% to a record £2.01bn. While this figure includes full game downloads, DLC and in-game transactions, the success in 2018 of Battle Royale games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have now pushed this segment up to encompass 50% of all UK software revenues. Further analysis from IHS Markit showed a buoyant mobile market, with +8.2% uplift to £1.17bn.

After 2017’s slight upturn in boxed software, 2018’s physical revenues remained fairly steady, dropping just -2.6% to £770m according to data provided by GfK Entertainment. However, the impact of the expanding digital free-to-play market contributed to a downturn in sales of pre-owned games, dropping -30.8% to £67.9m, data from Kantar Worldpanel showed.

Game hardware continued to be a core driver of consumer spend in 2018, with sales of games consoles enjoying an uplift of +6.5% to £702m, despite no new consoles being launched in the period, data from GfK showed. PC game hardware saw another strong year, increasing +18.4% to £445m and the peripherals and accessories market similarly grew +19.9% to £355m, showing that UK consumers have a keen demand for the latest technology in their game set-ups, again according to data from GfK.

The nascent VR hardware market saw a more difficult year according to IHS Markit’s analysis, dropping -20.9% to £72m as early adopters await the next generation of headsets.

For the full story please visit the UKIE website.