PC Gaming Is Doing Huge Numbers In The US, Fueled By COVID-19 And Lockdowns

2020 was a mammoth year for PC gaming in the United States. The NPD Group on Tuesday released a report that said total spending on PC gaming hardware and accessories in the US reached $4.5 billion in 2020, which is up 62% compared to 2019 and twice the amount in 2017.

Every hardware and accessory category that the NPD Group tracks posted double-digital growth. PC headsets, monitors, and keyboards performed the best. NPD said PC gaming accessory revenue jumped by 81% year-over-year, with PC gaming hardware revenue rising by 57%.

As you might have guessed, these dramatic increases were driven in part by COVID-19 and lockdowns that have kept people inside and looking for more games to play.

“COVID-19 lockdown measures played a role in the growth we’re seeing in PC gaming, as consumers looked for ways to stay entertained while spending more time at home,” NPD industry advisor Stephen Baker said in a release. “Following a historic 2020, with multiple years of growth all happening in one year, we are forecasting 3% growth for PC gaming hardware and accessories in 2021. While we remain optimistic about the outlook for PC gaming hardware and accessories for the future, and expect the segments growth rate will exceed that of the total industry, we do not expect ongoing incremental dollar increases, but rather a plateauing of demand at these new elevated levels.”

The percentage of Americans who are playing PC games jumped in 2020, rising 4 percentage points to reach 40%. Those who are playing PC games are playing more, with the amount of time spent playing PC games in the US in 2020 rising by 14%.

“PC gaming is the most innovative, open, and content-diverse segment in the video game industry. It is also one of the most accessible, as many households have a desktop or laptop computer,” NPD’s Mat Piscatella said. “Over the course of 2020, there was a significant increase in both the number of PC video game players as well as the time and money those players invested in PC gaming.”

It’s not just PC gaming that did huge numbers in the US in 2020. The NPD Group previously reported that total spending on video games in the US–spanning games, consoles, accessories, and more–reached $56.9 billion, up 27% compared to 2019 and representing a new all-time high for spending in a year. December 2020 alone posted $7.7 billion in sales, which is up 25% compared to December 2019.

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