After a COVID-fuelled period of energetic growth, the global gaming accessories market experienced a year of consolidation in 2022. A new report from Futuresource Consulting shows a combined volume dip of 2% across headsets, mice, keyboards and speakers. However, the specialist research firms notes that this is a temporary lull, with grass roots consumer interest ensuring long term growth.
“It’s clear that the lust for gaming accessories that we saw throughout 2020, and particularly 2021, did not carry through into 2022,” says Maxym Dmytriyev, Gaming Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Headsets in particular took a big volume hit, retreating by 7% to fall slightly short of 39 million units.
“For 2023, it’s likely we’ll see more of the same, yet an inflection point is just around the corner. Many of the gamers who got involved during the pandemic bought lower cost kit, and we expect them to resurface for upgrades, driving value into the premium segments. Plus, as consoles near their natural update cycle around 2024, demand will be unleashed once more.”
This migration into higher price brackets is already happening. Despite the increasing pressures on price, the widespread promotions and squeezed margins, consumers who are buying now are seizing the opportunity to invest in accessories of higher value. As a result, retail value has managed to avoid any decline.
Looking to the segments, headsets continue to command the lion’s share of the market, at 45% of total retail value. Mice and keyboards take second and third position, at 30% and 24% respectively, while speakers account for just a single percentage point.
In North America, the market benefited from true price decreases, due to high inventory levels, as well as favourable currency exchange rates, resulting in headset volumes dropping only 6% in 2022.
In APAC and Western Europe, inventory problems continue to persist, where some city-wide lockdowns are still affecting domestic supply chains. Combined with a worsening economic downturn across Europe, which continues to restrict spend and volumes, Western Europe experienced a volume decline of 9% in 2022.
“Beyond core gaming accessories, we’re also seeing a flurry of activity in simulation accessories and alternative controller layouts,” says Dmytriyev. “Brands are looking to simulation to extend margins, taking advantage of the flourishing creator and esports communities who are utilising the genre. Some long-standing peripheral brands are debuting their first foray into simulation equipment, while others are adapting typical controllers to better suit the needs of PC gamers. It’s a hot new battleground, so watch this space as industry players give it their full attention.”
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