90 pence in every pound spent on music, video and gaming is now online, but physical music sales are bucking the trend

The UK's entertainment sector is expected to hit £10 billion over the next year, according to industry body ERA.

Sales of physical music are on the up for the first time in 20 years, and with the home entertainment sector now in its nine year of growth too, new analysis from from ERA - the trade body for UK digital services and retailers of music, video and games - forecasts the UK's entertainment sector to be on track for sales totalling £10 billion over the next year. 

Despite fears the streaming boom experienced during the 2020 lockdown was a one-off, digital streams and sales continued to grow through 2021 with music revenues up another 8.7% and video up 13.3%. Only games faltered with sales down 3.3%, but that was still nearly 14% more than in 2019, the last full year before Covid-19 struck.

Kim Bayley, the ERA's CEO said: "The vast majority of this growth being driven by digital services making entertainment more accessible and convenient than ever before. If we can repeat this success in 2022, the UK entertainment market will exceed £10bn for the first time.”

MORE: Vinyl and cassette sales surge to 30 year high in UK

Nearly 90 pence in every pound spent on music, video and games is now spent online. Total digital revenues grew by 8.3% in 2021 to £8.66bn, more than the entire entertainment market was worth just two years ago. However, physical revenues in music grew by 7.3%, their first growth since 2001, driven by the continuing boom in sales of vinyl, up 23.2% to £135.6m.

New blockbuster releases by ABBA, Adele and Ed Sheeran were a welcome arrival pre-Christmas, while the combination of streaming convenience and vinyl's collectability are helping level the playing field for classics such as Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.

According to BPI analysis of Official Charts Company data, in the streaming-driven UK singles market, 180 artists achieved more than 100 million streams of their tracks over the past 12 months. Chief among them Ed Sheeran's Bad Habits - the biggest single in the UK of 2021 - racked up 204 million UK streams.

In the realm of video, ERA estimates the UK video streaming market has more than tripled in size since 2017 as more services launch and more users adopt them, helped by the closure of cinemas and mass delays in big films since 2020.

While it's been a tough year for DVD sales, the best-selling DVD and download of 2021, James Bond film No Time To Die, racked up a staggering 1.15 million sales in just two weeks at the end of the year.

Gaming-wise, FIFA 22 sold 917,000 units on physical alone with an additional 1.3m digital units taking it to more than 2.2m in total.

Article Image: Shutterstock/James McCauley