Digital sales dominating entertainment industry

Digital ruled the entertainment industry across all three sectors in the UK throughout 2022, according to the Digital Entertainment and Retail Association (ERA).

Streaming and digital entertainment formats reached 10.1 billion in 2022, up 8.4% from 2021. 

This contributed to the overall 11.1bn UK home entertainment market boom in 2022, which was an all-time high record for music, video, and game sales, beating 2019 by 39%. 

Despite the re-opening of cinemas and live music venues, as well as other public forms of entertainment, the at-home entertainment industry is undlubtedly flourishing. 

While physical and downloadable entertainment purchases fell, this was more than made up for by the rise in streaming and digital services across all three entertainment sectors.


This was the fastest growing sector, up 14.4% from 2021, with digital video revenue increasing 16.2% during the same period, despite the fall in physical retail (-11.5%) and rental (-19.4%). 

The sales were dominated by streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon prime, and Disney+ and Now TV, with subscription video on demand growing 17.6% since 2021, accounting for 87% of the video market. 

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “Video has faced the double whammy of a dearth of new releases caused by the Covid lockdown on top of the structural change from physical to digital, but 2022 saw the sector at an another all-time high and well-ahead of its 2008 physical peak of £2,844m.”


Suscriptions services for music grew by 5% in 2022 to £1,661.1m, with the main services being Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, and Apple. 

This is in contrast to physical sales, which fell by 3.8%, though vinyl was on the rise and outgrew CD sales for the first time since 1987. 

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “We are approaching a watershed. Thanks to the investment and ingenuity of streaming services on the one hand and to the physical retailers who have driven the vinyl revival on the other, music is within sight of exceeding £2bn in retail sales value for the first time in more than two decades.

“Music has to be great to win people’s attention, but it’s the buying and consumption experience which ultimately persuades people to put their hands in their pockets.”

However, artists themselves are not typically benefitting from subscription services and have continually called streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music for the little compensation they receive from the sites. 

In 2021, major artists such as Paul McCarntey and Kate Bush signed a letter urging for more regulations in streaming service revenue. 


Video games saw a massive rise in digital sales of 3.1%,with about 90% of all games being purchased digitally in 2022. 

This coincided with a fall in physical sales of -4.5%, and now accounts for only about 10% of the gaming sector. 

With games coming in a variety of formats including video, PC, and mobile applications, this is not a surprising figure and does follow the general trend in the rise of digital entertainment formats. 


Console downloads showed the biggest increase in 2022, up 12.2% and generating £724.7m in revenue. 

Still, they did not exceed mobile and tablet games, which were up 3.2% to £1,486.8m with a rise in 3.2%

Overall, games was the largest of the three core entertainment sectors, account for 42.1% of entertainment revenue in 2022, with sales growing by 2.3%. 

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “Gaming remains the often-unheralded leader of the entertainment market. While growth at 2.3% was lower than that of video or music, its scale is enormous and in terms of innovation and excitement it continues to set the pace for the entire entertainment sector.”

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