Most Of The Games Sold In The UK In 2020 Were Digital

Gamers be shopping.

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It appears that digital game downloads dominated the UK market. Of the almost 43 million games sold in total there in 2020, 24.5 million were digital downloads, as reported by GamesIndustry.Biz. This is up 74% from 2019's sales figures.

To assemble this analysis, GamesIndustry used data from the GSD, which covers all physical retail sales, as well as download sales for most major games companies. Not all publishers submit their sales data to the GSD for analysis however, so figuring out exactly how these trends have shifted since last year isn't fully possible, but GamesIndustry broke the figures down as best they could without including information from Bethesda and Nintendo. Two-thirds, or 67% of AAA games sold in the UK were purchased via a digital storefront like Steam, Nintendo eShop, PSN, and Xbox Live. This is a 15% jump from 2019's figures, where 52% of games were purchased from digital storefronts.

Despite this, physical games still saw some growth in 2020. There was a 2% increase in boxed game sales in 2020 over 2019, and including console hardware and accessories, the physical games market in the UK is worth over £2.1 billion. That's a 28% increase from 2019.

Though games are an ever-growing industry, at least some of these increases can be attributed to the COVID-19 lockdowns that occurred globally last year. Between needing more entertainment at home, and many brick and mortar shops being closed for the time being, it makes sense that digital purchases in particular would increase. It should also be noted that 2020 had 53 weeks while 2019 only had 52, so last year had an additional week of sales data to pull from.

COVID also likely influenced when games were purchased en masse. While the holiday season is usually the main attraction for annual games sales, this year's lockdowns, which started in March in the UK, led to a boom in both physical and digital game purchases. In 2020, 56.5% of games were purchased after June, down 5.5% from 2019's 62%. In short, gamers be shopping.

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