The gaming accessories market continues to climb, on track to achieve 21 per cent volume growth in 2020, according to a report from Futuresource Consulting.
“There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has made a significant positive contribution to the gaming landscape this year,” says Morris Garrard, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Yet consumer interest was already rising, and the pandemic has simply applied an additive effect. Self-isolation orders created a surge in gaming peripherals, not only for gaming purposes, but also for use when working from home. All of this combined activity across gaming headsets, speakers, keyboards and mice will result in shipments of 97.8 million units, generating a retail value of $4.2 billion by year end.”
With over 40 per cent of the worldwide gaming accessories retail market value, gaming headsets account for the lion’s share of the market, with Futuresource forecasting 26 per cent year-on-year volume growth in 2020. However, price sensitive, non-gaming consumers opted for entry-level models during the demand spike in H1, resulting in volume outstripping the growth in retail value this year.
“When it comes to features, spatial audio is the one to watch,” says Garrard. “It delivers cinema-like surround sound and 3D audio to headphones. Its promotion as a gaming headset USP as well as inclusion in next generation console hardware will drive consumer awareness and uptake. Sony is delivering its proprietary service ‘Sony 360 Reality Audio’, whereas Microsoft offers a choice of Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Windows Sonic on the Xbox Series X and S.”
Looking to the brands, the top four gaming headset players, Turtle Beach, Logitech G, Hyper X and Razer, dominated in terms of worldwide volumes in H1 2020, capturing nearly two in every three dollars of overall consumer spend.
Gaming speakers remain a niche category. With high ASPs and a lack of communication functionality, Futuresource expects to see a decrease in consumer demand in 2020, as price sensitive consumers opt for more versatile headset options.
Futuresource expects the gaming keyboard market to grow by 17 per cent in volume terms in 2020. Although working from home has bolstered the growth of gaming keyboard demand, many employees are typically using laptops, so the impact has been less drastic than that seen in the headsets vertical.
“An aftermarket gaming keyboard offers gamers a significant number of advantages when compared with a standard multipurpose PC keyboard,” says Garrard. “The major benefit is reduced input latency, giving the gamer crucial extra milliseconds in-game, which provides a discernible competitive advantage. In addition, a high proportion of gaming keyboards feature mechanical switches rather than membrane connections, which are more common in non-gaming keyboards. These switches offer greater customisability in terms of optimising input response times and minimising finger fatigue. Gaming keyboards typically also feature customisable RGB lighting, which can aid in game immersion through synchronising lighting effects with game audio.”
Feature-rich mice are also driving uptake in the gaming market, with gaming mice achieving double-digit volume growth for the third year in a row. Futuresource expects the market to grow by 20 per cent in volumes this year, achieving over 36 million shipments worldwide.
Features such as heightened responsiveness, programmable buttons and RGB light syncing offer PC gamers greater in-game functionality and a competitive edge when compared with a non-gaming mouse. In line with demand for feature-rich peripherals, vendors are able to command higher ASPs, with leading brands Logitech, Corsair and Razer generally opting to compete on features and functionality, rather than price.
“The gaming accessories market holds substantial potential for further growth,” says Garrard, “with our forecasts showing that shipments will progress at a 9 per cent CAGR between 2020 and 2024 across the four major product categories covered within this report. Alongside this, retail value will increase at double digit CAGR between 2020 and 2024, to generate over $6 billion in 2024.”