UK gamers spend £3,353 billion on games software in 2017, reports the Entertainment Retailers Association.
Quoting GfK's retail figures and IHS' digital estimates, the firm reveals that physical game sales hit £792.4 million (as revealed on GamesIndustry.biz yesterday), a rise of 2.1%.
Yet it is video games digital that saw the most growth, rising from £2.28 billion to £2.56 billion - growth for 12.1%.
ERA's data also includes numbers from video and music, and it's fascinating to see how the games market performed by comparison. Physical video dropped 17% last year (to £742.1m), whereas digital video grew 22.2% to £1.9 million. Physical music fell 3.4% (to £459.4m), music downloads dropped a massive 23.1% (to £165 million), while streaming grew 41.9% (to £577.1 million). Streaming is now the biggest sector of the music industry.
Overall, the entertainment market was worth £7.24 billion in 2017. Digital accounted for 71.9% of all entertainment sales recorded last year.
"This is an historic result which demonstrates the benefits of innovation and investment in new technology," said ERA CEO Kim Bayley. "New digital services are bringing ever increasing numbers of the UK population back to entertainment with 24/7 access to the music, video and games they want. In the past the growth of the market tended to be dependent on the release schedules of games publishers, film studios and record labels. Now we are seeing a market which is also driven by digital platforms and technologies."
She continued: "Physical may no longer be the default option for many people that it once was, but it remains a substantial £2bn business. Where physical really comes into its own is where it offers something distinctive and additional to the content, whether it be the tactile experience of vinyl or the simple fact that physical objects work well as gifts. I remain confident that physical entertainment formats will continue to be with us for years to come."