Digital Sales Break the £1bn Barrier
For years the media industry has been complaining that digital downloads are destroying their business. This is despite research revealing that file sharers actually buy more music than non file sharers.
Not only are illegal downloads helping the industry though, as figures emerge that legal downloads in the UK topped £1bn during 2012.
The figures, released by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), revealed that over £1bn was spent on downloaded films, music and games during 2012, which is a record. Video games were the biggest market for online sales, representing over £500 million.
This figure represents an increase of 11.4% on the 2011 figure, and means that over 25% of total entertainment sales now come digitally.
In a telling reflection on the state of the market though, figures are also expected to show that fewer of us are buying these goods in physical stores. Sales of physical products fell by 17.6% in 2011, and it's expected that 2012 will have produced a similar fall.
Kim Bayley, director general of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), which will release the figures, said that breaking the £1bn barrier was an "incredible achievement" for retailers.
"This reflects their huge investment in new and innovative services - which means you can buy music, video and games literally at any time of the day and wherever you are.
"At the same time I suspect that many people will be surprised to learn just how resilient the physical business still is - with three-quarters of entertainment sales still on disc.
"Downloads offer convenience and portability, but people still seem to value the quality and tangibility of a physical product."