January 18, 2022
New Data Shows Consumer Spending Up 8% from $56.1 Billion in 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 18, 2022 – Overall total consumer spending on video games in the U.S. totaled $60.4 billion in 2021, an 8 percent increase over 2020, according to new data released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and The NPD Group. This figure includes revenues from all content categories (including full-game, post-launch and subscription spending across console, cloud, mobile*, portable, PC and VR platforms), hardware and accessories.
“The growth and impact of the video game industry over the past year underscores the sustained trends we have seen for several years, namely that people of all ages and demographics are playing video games for joy and competition, connecting with others, learning and mental stimulation, as well as much needed stress relief,” ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said. “The video game industry drives a dynamic and growing entertainment ecosystem that not only provides engaging interactive content, but also spurs local economic growth through live esports competitions, educational opportunities and high-wage careers.”
Gains were seen across console and PC subscription spending, digital post-launch content spending across console, PC and VR, as well as hardware and accessories. Overall, content spending in 2021 reached $51.7 billion, an increase of 7 percent over 2020. Hardware rose to $6.1 billion, a 14 percent increase. Accessories generated $2.7 billion in consumer spending, a 2 percent increase.
“The video game industry continued to thrive in 2021, energized by new platforms and content joining some existing consumer favorites. Due to strong demand, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles remained hard to find throughout each platform’s first full year in market, while existing platforms such as Nintendo Switch, PC and Quest 2 delivered strong sales and engagement,” NPD games industry analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Video game players enjoyed a wide range of options in the variety of games to enjoy, platforms to play them on, and ways to engage with them. Sales gains were seen across several segments, from hardware to accessories, and from subscription services to digital post-launch recurrent spending.”
Mobile data provided by Sensor Tower showed U.S. consumer spending in mobile games increased 14 percent from 2020.
“U.S. mobile games spending maintained its pandemic-boosted momentum from 2020 through 2021, with December capping off a stellar year for the U.S. mobile game market as the third largest month for spending in the past three years and the best December on record. All of this despite headwinds, including a clampdown on attribution data many feared would disrupt the very underpinnings of the industry,” Sensor Tower Head of Insights Randy Nelson said. “The outlook for 2022 sees a continuation of this growth velocity, on a wave of emerging trends that are growing the overall player base, such as console cross-play and high-spec mobile reimaginings of popular console franchises.”
Top Games in the U.S. in 2021
|PC/Console (full-game sales only) – Best Sellers|
|1||Call of Duty: Vanguard|
|2||Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War|
|3||Madden NFL 22|
|4||Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl†|
|6||Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales|
|7||Mario Kart 8†|
|8||Resident Evil: Village|
|9||MLB: The Show 21^|
|10||Super Mario 3D World†|
|11||Far Cry 6|
|14||Animal Crossing: New Horizons†|
|16||Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla|
|17||Super Smash Bros. Ultimate†|
|18||Back 4 Blood|
|19||Mortal Kombat 11|
|20||Forza Horizon 5|
|Mobile – Top Grossing|
|1||Candy Crush Saga|
|4||Garena Free Fire|
|8||Lords Mobile: Tower Defense|
|9||Call of Duty: Mobile|
|10||Clash of Clans|
|11||Candy Crush Soda Saga|
|12||State of Survival|
|16||RAID: Shadow Legends|
*Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower
†Digital sales not included
^Xbox Digital sales not included
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About the ESA
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) serves as the voice and advocate for the U.S. video game industry. Its members are the innovators, creators, publishers and business leaders that are reimagining entertainment and transforming how we interact, learn, connect and play. The ESA works to expand and protect the dynamic marketplace for video games through innovative and engaging initiatives that showcase the positive impact of video games on people, culture and the economy. For more information, visit the ESA’s website or follow the ESA on Twitter @theESA.
About The NPD Group
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, home improvement, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.
About Sensor Tower, Inc.
Sensor Tower is the leading provider of market intelligence and insights for the global app economy. Founded in 2013 and based in San Francisco, CA, Sensor Tower provides enterprise-level data on mobile apps and publishers through our Store Intelligence, Ad Intelligence, Usage Intelligence, and App Intelligence platforms, which offer download, revenue, share of voice, and engagement metrics at unparalleled accuracy for the world’s most important markets. For more information, visit sensortower.com. Follow us on Twitter: @sensortower.