British consumer spend on entertainment skyrocketed to £9 billion in 2020, with digital streaming services taking up a significant amount of that total.
According to a new report from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), the entertainment sector revenues of £9.05 billion marked the fastest growth rate since records began thanks to a year in which the country was mostly stuck inside.
Digital services saw revenues increase by £1.4 billion over 2019 to a new high of £7.8 billion, spearheaded by growth from digital video services like Netflix and Disney+. Such video services saw revenues increase 37.7% year-over-year to a total of £2.9 billion.
While streaming video services continue to flourish, the decline of physical media is also being felt. Physical retail and rental both declined by more than a quarter to £355.7 million and £16.9 million respectively (declines of 25.5% and 27.6%).
Music streaming services also grew markedly, with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music contributing to a year-over-year increase of 15.5% to £1.2 billion.
The gaming market is the only one which still saw growth in physical media, though its increasing revenue of 4.6% to £598.5 million was dwarfed by the digital gaming market’s total of £3.6 billion.
Overall more than 80 pence in the pound spent on entertainment now goes to digital services rather than physical formats.
ERA CEO Kim Bayley said: “If there was ever a year in which we needed entertainment, it was 2020. The trend towards an increasingly digital entertainment market may be long established, but no one could have foreseen this dramatic leap as digital services filled the gap left by shuttered cinemas, concert halls and retail stores. With much of the country shut down, ERA’s members provided a welcome revenue stream for thousands of musicians, actors, directors and countless backroom staff.”
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