Insights Ukie reports that UK games market grew 12.4% to a record £5.11 billion in 2017


Ukie says that recent figures show strong growth across both the game software and hardware markets, with software revenues up 8.3% to £3.56 billion and hardware growing significantly by 27.1% to another record of £1.43 billion. The analysis also includes an assessment of the wider spend on game-related culture, which was valued at £117 million.

In software, data from games research company SuperData showed digital and online revenue grew by 13.4% to a record £1.6 billion (incorporating full game downloads, DLC and in-game transactions, across both PC and console) and mobile revenues broke the billion barrier for the first time, growing 7.8% to £1.07 billion.

Boxed physical copies of games reversed recent trends, Ukie says, by increasing revenues 3.1% to £790 million, driven by major franchises and games sales on the new Nintendo Switch, according to data provided by GfK Entertainment. As these sales of new games improve across both digital and physical, data provided by Kantar Worldpanel showed that pre-owned games sales declined by 15.1% to £101 million.

Game hardware was a significant driver of consumer spend in 2017, with GfK data showing console sales growing 29.9% on the previous year to £659 million, as players invested in new consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. Peripherals and accessories remained broadly steady over the same period, with a small decline of 1.4% to £296 million.

PC game hardware is in high demand, as sales of high-end monitors and graphics cards drove a 51% increase in sales to £376 million, perhaps doubly impressive considering 2016’s growth of more than 64%. This growth is also connected to the ongoing rise of virtual and mixed reality, which saw VR hardware sales increase by 23.5% to £101 million, according to data provided by SuperData.

Game-related toys and merchandise enjoyed a successful year, growing 6.8% to £72.9 million, despite a slight decline in the general toys market, according to data provided by NPD. Overall, games print media also saw a small decline, down 2.8% to £18 million, however this was due to lower magazine sales last year (6.6%, ABC data and Ukie estimates), rather than book sales, which grew 1.9% according to Nielsen, largely due to perennial interest in the Pokémon and Minecraft franchises.

Overall game movie and soundtrack revenues declined 29.9% to £17.6 million in 2017, however this shift was due to the inclusion of UK box office ticket sales data from the British Film Institute for the first time, which by itself saw a much steeper drop in sales by 45.3% due to the stronger performance of the Angry Birds Movie and Warcraft in 2016. For home sales, data from the Official Charts Company saw the market relatively flat, with a small increase in film sales (4.3%) and a small decline in music revenues (3.5%).

Finally, Ukie reports that UK games events and venues ticket sales saw another strong year in 2017 overall, with major expos such as EGX and Insomnia, along with a growing exports scene, seeing ticket revenues grow 13.4% to £8.4 million. To read Ukie’s press release in full and for links to the figures, click here.