Without a doubt, video games are a big business, especially at a time when the industry has a more captive audience than usual. As proof, data provided by NPD Group shows that, in 2020, total US consumer sales for the video game industry grew by more than one-quarter over 2019.
In 2020, US consumers spent $56.9 billion on video game hardware, content and accessories. That’s a 27% increase over total video game sales in 2019 ($44.9 billion) and sets a new record for full-year spending. December spending on video games also broke a record, growing 25% year-over-year (y-o-y) to reach $7.1 billion for the month.
Revenue from video game hardware grew by 35% y-o-y in 2020, totaling $5.3 billion. Video game content (console, PC, portable, mobile and VR) which also includes in-game and subscriptions reached $49 billion, representing 26% growth from $38.8 billion in 2019.
These figures take into account mobile spending data, provided by Sensor Tower, which include paid downloads and in-game purchase for mobile and tablet devices through Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Although video game accessories account for a much smaller share of total video game sales, revenue from this area grew by 21% y-o-y in 2020 to reach $2.6 billion.
Growth in the video game industry isn’t new, but the pandemic has clearly had an impact: for example, a global study from DoubleVerify found close to 4 in 10 consumers surveyed reporting spending more time with video/mobile games during the pandemic.
That same study also found that about one-fifth (22%) of consumers were receptive to ads in video and mobile games. This could be one reason why, while most other forms of media advertising suffered losses in 2020, PwC has forecast growth in video game advertising.