Breaking billions: how the UK entertainment market grew in 2021

It’s no surprise that the streaming, music and games markets explode over the course of a year resulting in public restrictions, hybrid work and more time spent indoors in the UK A new report from Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) quantified this growth, increasing digital entertainment by almost a quarter since 2019 to generate £ 9.7 billion, the ninth consecutive year of growth, which runs counter to peak growth theory punctual in 2020.

“The whole industry had been preparing for revenues to stabilize in 2021 after 2020 grew 18.7%, but growth continued – for the ninth year in a row,” Kim Bayley said, CEO of ERA. “Surprisingly, this growth is more and more independent of the activity of the new versions; the vast majority of this growth is driven by digital services making entertainment more accessible and convenient than ever. If we can repeat this success in 2022, the UK entertainment market will surpass £ 10 billion for the first time. ”


For the first time ever, sales of physical records and music rose – by 7.3% to be precise – with streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple and Amazon helping the UK music scene to generate around 1.6 billion pounds. sterling in 2021; a total of 8.7% over 2020.

Around 70 pence of every UK music book went to streaming services, according to ERA, with subscriptions increasing 10.9% as vinyl sales shocked the world as they increased for the first time in decades 23.2%.

“The new releases undoubtedly increase music fan engagement with streaming services and in 2021 the music industry has delivered several blockbusters,” Bayley said. “What is increasingly clear, however, is that the main driver of revenue is innovation and investment in the services themselves.”


Streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime saw their UK revenues increase 28.2% to £ 3.1bn, more than triple their size since 2017, thanks to shows in the UK. success as “Squid Game”.

Physical retail video sales fell sharply as streaming growth increased 28.2% from 2020; which means that 90 pence of every pound spent on entertainment in the UK is through online services.

“Crises tend to amplify existing trends and the coronavirus pandemic has clearly been a major factor in the explosive growth of video streaming and the precipitous decline in record sales,” adds Bayley. “On the bright side, however, the reopening of theaters and the large backlog of Hollywood blockbusters mean we can expect further growth in ownership formats in 2022.”

The ten best-selling films in the world according to NPD were “F9: The Quick Saga; “” Wonder Woman 1984; “” Croods: a new age; “” Godzilla vs. Kong; ” “Black Widow;” “Raya and the last dragon; “” Space Jam; ” “Mortal combat;” “Monster hunter;” and “Beetlejuice” from 1988.


The only sector to see a slight decline in 2021 was gaming, largely due to the supply chain disruption faced by next-gen consoles and the comparative position of 2021 against the Phenomenal growth of 2020. However, the gaming market continued on its course to generate £ 4.2 billion in retail sales.

“The UK games market is more than double its size 10 years ago, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8%, which is extraordinary in every way,” says Bayley. “The strong growth of mobile gaming can only benefit the market in the long term. Despite the slight setback in 2021, we can be confident that the gaming industry will continue to thrive. ”

The most downloaded, purchased and played games, according to NPD, were “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War”; “Call of Duty: Avant-garde; “” Madden NFL 22; “” MLB: The 21 show; “” Resident Evil: Village; “” Battlefield 2042; “” Super Mario 3D world; “Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond / Brilliant Pearl;” “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales;” and “Far Cry 6”.