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As PC sales shrink, the gaming PC market grows faster than expected

Kyle Orland

The innards of one of the many gaming PCs that are selling better than ever, according to JPR.
While other market analysts are seeing overall PC sales continue to decline, a new report from Jon Peddie Research (JPR) shows the worldwide market for PC gaming hardware growing faster than expected in 2016.
All told, the market for pre-built and "DIY" gaming-focused PCs (which also includes "upgrades and accessories such as input devices and audio/communication systems") exceeded $30 billion (£24 billion) for the first time last year ($30.346 billion, to be precise), according to JPR's latest report. That's well up from the estimated $24.6 billion (£19.6 billion) market for gaming PCs that JPR saw back in 2015. Back then, JPR projected that the PC gaming market wouldn't pass the $30 billion mark until 2018, meaning the industry has accelerated roughly two years ahead of those old projections.
"The average PC sale is increasingly motivated by the video game use model, which is important to understand in a stagnant or declining overall PC market," JPR writes in explaining its findings. "As basic computing functions become more entrenched with mobile devices, the PC ultimately becomes a power user’s tool..."
Estimated gaming PC sales for 2016 (in millions of dollars) according to JPR.
Estimated gaming PC sales for 2016 (in millions of dollars) according to JPR.
While Europe and North America still spend the most on what JPR calls "high-end" PC gaming hardware, the Asia Pacific region is now the biggest and fastest-growing market for gaming PCs overall. The £9 billion that region spends on gaming PC hardware is up 9.61 percent annually, thanks to "an entrenched PC gaming culture, large population, and a lack of significant console traction," according to JPR.
Overall, JPR sees the gaming PC market shifting slightly away from the "entry-level" tier (22% of the market, down from 26% in 2015) and toward more powerful "mid-range" systems (35% of the market, up from 31%). The most powerful "high-end" PCs still make up a plurality 43% of the overall market.
JPR hasn't yet released similar numbers for console hardware in 2016. In 2015, though, the market for what JPR calls "TV gaming" hardware was about 15 percent bigger than that for PC gaming hardware. That's a marked change from 2014, though, when JPR estimated that PC game hardware sold about twice as well as console gaming hardware.
JPR's report follows on a SuperData report from last year which estimated the worldwide market for PC games (including free-to-play and social-network based titles) was bigger than either the mobile game or console game markets alone.

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