UK Entertainment Sales Grow 7% To £11.9bn

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024 
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UK Entertainment Sales Grow 7% To £11.9bn

  • The value of the UK music, video and games markets increased for the eleventh successive year in 2023, rising 7% to another all-time record of £11.9bn, according to preliminary figures released today by digital entertainment and retail association ERA.
    • Music Revenues Highest In Over Two Decades Thanks To Streaming
    • Video Exceeds Games For First Time Since 2012
    • Entertainment Sales Up Over 50% In 4 Years

The value of the UK music, video and games markets increased for the eleventh successive year in 2023, rising 7% to another all-time record of £11.9bn, according to preliminary figures released today by digital entertainment and retail association ERA.

It means the entertainment market has grown by just over 50% since the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, led by video (up 88.3%), followed by music (+38.8%) and games (+29.2%).

The main driver of growth in 2023 was streaming and digital services which increased revenues by more than £800m in a year and now account for 91.7% of total revenue.

Bucking the declining trend in physical formats, the value of vinyl LP sales increased by 18% and CD achieved its first value increase in 20 years (+2%).

The fastest growing sector in 2023 was video, up 10% to £4,915m, followed by music, up 9.6% to £2,220m and games up 2.9% to £4,737m.

Driven by subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV, video recaptured its historic position as entertainment’s largest sector, ending a 10 year run of dominance by games.

Meanwhile thanks to streaming services from Spotify, Amazon, YouTube and Apple, music revenues were their highest since 2002 – and just 0.08% below music’s all time high of 2001.

Games sales grew by a modest 2.9% in 2023 to £4,736.7m but have now doubled in value over the past decade.

ERA Chairman Ben Drury said, “The entertainment business is defying gravity, delivering eleven straight years of growth regardless of wider economic conditions. Due credit should go to the amazing creative talent behind the movies, music and games we all love, but we should also recognise the huge contribution of the digital services and retailers who have reinvented the entertainment experience for consumers over the past 15 years. The overwhelming majority of the money raised by digital services and retailers goes direct to the content owners, and their success is directly benefitting creators.”

UK Entertainment Sales 2023 (£M)

                               2022      2023  % change vs 2022
                           --------  --------  ----------------
 Physical                    £280.4    £311.0             10.9%
 Downloads                    £45.4     £42.7             -5.9%
 Streaming                 £1,699.1  £1,866.2              9.8%
Total Music                £2,024.9  £2,219.9              9.6%

 Physical Retail             £209.0    £169.7            -18.8%
 Physical Rental               £9.9      £5.6            -43.7%
 Digital                   £4,248.4  £4,739.7             11.6%
Total Video                £4,467.3  £4,915.1             10.0%

 Physical                    £517.9    £495.0             -4.4%
 Digital                   £4,086.5  £4,241.8              3.8%
Total Games                £4,604.3  £4,736.7              2.9%

Total Entertainment
 Physical                  £1,017.2     £981.3            -3.5%
 Digital (inc streaming)  £10,079.3  £10,890.4             8.0%
Total Entertainment       £11,096.5  £11,871.7             7.0%

How Entertainment Has Flourished Through Pandemic And Recession

                         2019        2023  % change
                    ---------  ----------  --------
Video               £2,610.6m   £4,915.1m    +88.3%
Games               £3,666.2m   £4,736.7m    +29.2%
Music               £1,599.4m   £2,219.9m    +38.8%
Home entertainment  £7,876.2m  £11,871.7m    +50.7%


UK spending on music streaming subscriptions, vinyl and CDs grew by 9.6% in 2023, nearly twice as fast as 2022 (+5%). The £2,219.9m total was the highest since 2001, the historic peak of the CD era, and just 0.08% shy of that record. It was more than double the level of 2013 when music sales plummeted in the face of internet piracy.

Once again, the main driver of growth came from streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and Apple, which grew subscription streaming revenues by 9.8% to £1,866.2m, another all-time-high.

Physical sales grew by an impressive 10.9% to £311m, a significant improvement on 2022’s 4% decline. Vinyl album sales grew by 17.8% to reach £177.3m, while CD recorded its first rise in sales value for two decades, up 2% to reach £126.2m.

The strength of physical sales was all the more remarkable given significant distribution problems which affected much of the industry in late summer 2023.

The biggest album of the year was The Weeknd’s The Highlights, while the best-performing track was Miley Cyrus’s ‘Flowers’.

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “With revenues just a fraction away from music’s all-time-high, this is a red letter day for the music industry and is a testament not just to the creativity of artists, but to the entrepreneurial drive of digital services and retailers. A world without streaming now seems unthinkable. Meanwhile the tenacity of physical retailers has driven not just the vinyl revival, but a surprise increase in the value of CD sales. Given all we’ve been through, it really doesn’t get much better than this.”


In 2023 video recaptured its historic position as entertainment’s most valuable category, driven above all by streaming video on demand (SVOD) services from the likes of Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+ and Now TV. Revenues grew 10% to £4,915.1m, two-and-a-half times the level in 2014, the industry’s most recent low point

Subscription video on demand grew by 12.8% to £4,401.2m and now accounts for 89% of the video market. SVOD revenues are now up 75% since the pandemic year of 2020.

In contrast to music, video’s physical formats suffered further reverses with DVD sales down 21.7% to £91.8m while Blu-ray declined 15.1% to £77.9m.

The biggest-selling video title of the year was Avatar – The Way of Water which generated sales of 560,000.

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “2023 marked a dramatic return to the top for video, finally ending games’s decade-long run as entertainment’s largest sector. For a long time the only way to enjoy video digitally was illegally. Streaming changed all that and has transformed not just the viewing habits of tens of millions, but the fortunes of the entire movie and TV business.”


Gaming revenues grew in 2023 by a relatively modest 2.9%, a reflection of its much faster journey to digital maturity than video or music. At £4,736.7m it was more than twice the size it was in 2013, however, with digital accounting for around 90% of revenue.

Games is the most fragmented of the three sectors with channels ranging from traditional packaged discs to console downloads, PC games, mobile and tablet games and a variety of other subscription and token-based playing mechanisms.

Physical games software sales were again challenged, falling 4.4% to £495.0m compared with 2022.

The biggest-selling console game was EA Sports FC 24, Electronic Arts’s replacement for its 29 year partnership with football’s world governing body on the FIFA series. Significantly the new title sold in almost identical quantities to its predecessor, around 2.39m copies.

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “Gaming is the most digitally native sector of the entertainment business and in 2023 it continued to show its ability to connect with people across every channel and demographic. A maturing market brings its own challenges, but at more than twice the size of the music market, games remains a leviathan.”

Links: digital entertainment and retail association