The size of the UK’s retail entertainment market reached an all-time high of £7.24bn in 2017 driven mainly by digital streaming services, according to new data.
In figures compiled by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), the market segment saw combined sales growth of 8.8% across music, video and games, compared with the previous year.
The statistics also provide strong evidence that physical formats have retained some appeal, with sales of vinyl albums growing by more than a third compared with 2016 and a welcome 5% increase in physical console games software.
Entertainment’s 8.8% growth rate in 2017 was more than four times that of the wider UK economy, which grew by 1.9% in the first three quarters of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, according to the Office National Statistics (ONS).
Kim Bayley, chief executive for the ERA, said: “This is an historic result which demonstrates the benefits of innovation and investment in new technology. 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.
“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.”