Spending on video games set a new record of $56.9 billion in 2020 in the US, according to a new NPD Group report, a 27 percent increase compared to 2019. Spending on hardware hit its highest level since 2011 at $5.3 billion, a 35 percent increase compared to 2019. NPD classifies video game spending as money spent at retail and digital storefronts on “video game hardware, content, and accessories.”
Although last year saw the release of the PS5 and new Xbox consoles, it was Nintendo’s Switch that took the crown as the bestselling platform over the course of the year. It was number one in terms of both dollar sales and units sold. The PS5 was the second bestselling console in terms of dollar sales, while the PS4 was in second place in terms of units sold.
Dec 2020 US NPD THREAD - December 2020 consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories reached a December record $7.7B, 25% higher when compared to a year ago. Full year spending also set a new record, totaling $56.9B, 27% higher than 2019. pic.twitter.com/JFTL7eOEat— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) January 15, 2021
Nintendo was similarly dominant in software, publishing 10 out of the 20 bestselling games of the year. However, the top two bestselling games were both Call of Duty, with Black Ops: Cold War in first place and 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in second place. NPD’s Mat Piscatella notes that the Call of Duty franchise has now been the bestselling gaming franchise in the US for a record 12 years straight.
US NPD SW - 2020 Top 20 Sellers pic.twitter.com/7B0sreCkLV— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) January 15, 2021
It shouldn’t be surprising that people spent a lot of money on a primarily in-home form of entertainment in the same year as a global pandemic, especially when it coincided with new consoles launching. The surge in video game spending was apparent as early as July, when NPD Group reported that US video game spending hit a 10-year high in June.