Summary:

Even in a downturn, you’ve got to have some down time. 2008 UK home entertainment sales were four percent better than the year before at 4…

Even in a downturn, you’ve got to have some down time. 2008 UK home entertainment sales were four percent better than the year before at 485.8 million units, driven mainly by strong games and digital single sales, UK retailers said via the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA)…

Games: Sales up 17 percent to 82.8 million, thanks mostly to strong growth from consoles ie. Nintendo Wii. But let’s not discount that this was Playstation 3′s first proper year and that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) threw a lot in to pre-Christmas Xbox marketing.

Music: Digital singles growth of 41.5 percent to 110.3 million helped overall single sales up 3.3 percent, despite a 43.5 percent dip in physical single sales to just 4.6 million, ERA said. Digital albums shifted 65 percent more at 10.3 million, though physical albums lost 6.4 percent, overall down 3.2 percent. Overall music sales across formats are down 1.1 percent but, in a surprise, CD sales actually increased in Q4 compared with the year before, probably thanks to heavily-discounted Christmas releases.

Blu-ray & DVD: ERA said the new format is “booming” but the 357.9 percent increase from a low base still leaves 2008 sales of 3.7 million looking slim. Consumers still favour DVDs, which, despite some big releases like Mamma Mia, only grew 1.9 percent on the year before.

ERA said results across the board were “remarkably positive”, given the economic situation and the collapse of the industry’s biggest wholesale distributor Entertainment UK. We’ll know more on the success of game sales when Game Group issues sales figures next week.

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