According to NPD’s 2020 Evolution of Entertainment report, four out of every five consumers in the U.S. have played a video game in the past six months. The cross-platform growth leans toward mobile with consoles still coming up strong as 79% of U.S. consumers are gaming. Total spend on video gaming has increased 33% this year as total time spent playing games spiked 26%. Gains are being driven by shifting consumer spend from other types of entertainment — such as movies and live events — that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
“This year, video games is one of the most consistent growth categories in terms of overall participation and investment relative to 2019,” says Mat Piscatella, video game industry analyst for The NPD Group. “This may simply reflect an acceleration of trends that were in effect prior to the pandemic. If this is the case, then the gaming market could experience continued growth without a post-pandemic pullback. If not, however, we may see a post-pandemic valley before returning to growth. It all rests on engagement.”
The report notes that while time and spend have increased across all age groups, adults over age 45 account for the biggest gains in time and money spent on gaming.
Earlier this month, NPD reported that Q3 sales for the U.S. gaming industry hit a new record high of $11.2 billion, a 24% increase over the same period last year.
The holiday season is expected to hit additional records as Q4 sales of new systems, including Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s Playstation 5 boost numbers alongside the continued success of the Nintendo Switch.