Strong sales of video games helped entertainment retailers grow their business 3.8 per cent by volume and a healthy 5.1 per cent in value last year, according to newly published figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association.
The Entertainment Retailers Association Yearbook reveals that games software accounted for 36.7 per cent of the entertainment retailing market in 2008, just behind video/DVD at 40.5 per cent, but well ahead of music at 22.8 per cent.
And this trend is continuing into 2009, with year-to-date sales of games up 15 per cent by volume and seven per cent by value.
In contrast, video sales are down 3.3 per cent by volume and 11.1 per cent by value and album sales have fallen 6.4 per cent by volume and 11.3 per cent by value.
The ERA said that key drivers of games sales last year were Nintendo Wii and DS systems. Indeed, games for the two platforms accounted for more than half of the entire games software market.
"The success of video games is helping entertainment retailers withstand the impact of the financial crisis," said Kim Bayley, director general of the ERA. "These results are particularly remarkable given the collapse of Woolworths and Zavvi and the industry's biggest wholesaler [EUK] right in the middle of the busy pre-Christmas period.
"No sector can be immune from the problems of the wider economy, but these results show that as long as suppliers come up with new and innovative entertainment products, then consumers will respond positively."
The 5.1 per cent increase in the combined value of video, games and recorded music sales in 2008 outstripped that of other leisure pursuits such as eating out (up 2.8 per cent), reading (up 3.3 per cent) and hobbies and pastimes (up 1.5 per cent).
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