In 2021, people spent more time playing video games than they have in the past, with many adults agreeing that there is something in the video gaming universe for everyone. Along with the increase in time spent playing video games, data published by the NPD Group shows that, last year, total US consumer spending on the video game industry grew by 8% over 2020.
In 2021, US consumers spent a record $60.4 billion on video game hardware, content and accessories. That’s a modest 8% increase over total video game sales in 2020 ($56.9 billion). Despite the overall increase, December spending on video games dipped 1% year-over-year (y-o-y) to $7.5 billion.
Revenue from video game hardware grew by 14% y-o-y in 2021, totaling $6.1 billion. This is despite a 3% y-o-y decline in spending on video game hardware in December. Video game content (console, PC, portable, mobile and VR), which also includes in-game and subscriptions, reached $52.7 billion, representing 7% growth from $48.1 billion in 2020.
These figures take into account mobile spending data, provided by Sensor Tower, which includes paid downloads and in-game purchases for mobile and tablet devices through Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Mobile gaming has become quite prolific, with prior research from Morning Consult showing that more than 7 in 10 gamers play games on their mobile phone. This also explains why NPD Group data shows that, as of December 2021, consumer spending on mobile games had exceeded $2 billion for 10 consecutive months.
Accounting for a much smaller share of video game sales, revenue from video game accessories grew by 2% y-o-y in 2021 to reach $2.7 billion. Following the trend from other consumer spending on video games, December 2021 saw video game accessories spend drop 9% over the same period in 2020, reaching $493 million.