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UK Esports Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Esports market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Gaming kit designed by esports stars could appeal to fans
  • More interactions with esports stars could entice viewers to spend on paid streaming service

Covered in this report

This report analyses the competitive gaming market, also known as esports, covering console, PC, tablet, mobile and VR gaming. The report also discusses gameplay streaming and watching. Gameplay streams are defined as users broadcasting their gaming content online for an audience to watch, whether that is competitive gaming or not.

Market size data for this report is supplied by Newzoo, which defines esports for the purposes of its data as “Competitive gaming at a professional level and in an organized format (a tournament or league) with a specific goal (ie, winning a champion title or prize money) and a clear distinction between players and teams that are competing against each other.”

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Zach Emmanuel, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The rapid growth of the esports industry is set to continue as gaming devices get more powerful and major celebrities get more involved. Companies have also been working with esports stars for promotional campaigns to help align the image of esports more closely with that of traditional sports. Changing perceptions in this way will be crucial to increasing mainstream appeal Zach Emmanuel
Technology Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Esports industry rapidly gaining momentum
              • Figure 1: esports global revenue, 2015-19
              • Figure 2: Western Europe esports revenue breakdown, 2019
            • TV broadcasts to play key role in widening esports audience
              • Companies and brands
                • Array of gaming phones released amid growing esports potential
                  • Google announces Stadia gaming platform with streaming controls
                    • Companies partner with esports stars during promotional campaigns
                      • The consumer
                        • Over four in ten play video games on a weekly basis
                          • Figure 3: Frequency of playing video games, April 2019
                        • Over a third of gamers watch game streams
                          • Figure 4: Watching streams of video games, April 2019
                        • Three in ten gamers watch esports competitions
                          • Figure 5: Watching competitive gaming competitions, April 2019
                        • Over six in ten esports viewers have been to a gameplay event
                          • Figure 6: Attendance to esports events, preferences and behaviours during gaming streams, April 2019
                        • YouTube well ahead for watching gameplay
                          • Figure 7: Platforms for watching live or on demand gameplay, April 2019
                        • First person shooters, sport and strategy most popular genres
                          • Figure 8: Type of video game watched live or on demand, April 2019
                        • Over four in ten gameplay viewers watch to learn
                          • Figure 9: Motivations to watch live or on demand gameplay, April 2019
                        • Three quarters of non-viewing gamers are not interested in esports
                          • Figure 10: Interest in watching or playing esports for current non-viewers, April 2019
                        • Opinion weighted against esports as a legitimate sport
                          • Figure 11: Opinions on esports as a professional sport, April 2019
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Gaming kit designed by esports stars could appeal to fans
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • More interactions with esports stars could entice viewers to spend on paid streaming services
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Esports industry rapidly gaining momentum
                                        • TV broadcasts to play key role in widening esports audience
                                          • Celebrities’ involvement will also raise esports’ profile
                                            • Next generation of consoles will mean more engaging esports
                                            • Market Size

                                              • Esports industry rapidly gaining momentum
                                                • Figure 12: Esports global revenue, 2015-19
                                              • Sponsorships are biggest revenue source
                                                  • Figure 13: Western Europe esports revenue breakdown, 2019
                                                • Continued battle for media rights
                                                • Market Drivers

                                                  • Background – What is esports and where has it come from?
                                                    • TV broadcasts to play key role in widening esports audience
                                                      • Monetising more streaming viewers will help to boost industry
                                                        • Celebrities’ involvement will raise esports’ profile
                                                          • Variety of platforms will be key to overall growth
                                                            • Next generation of consoles will mean more engaging esports
                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Sky Sports broadcasts first ePremier League tournament
                                                                • Array of gaming phones released amid growing esports potential
                                                                  • Google announces Stadia gaming platform with streaming controls
                                                                    • Companies partner with esports stars during promotional campaigns
                                                                    • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                      • Sky Sports broadcasts first ePremier League tournament
                                                                        • Array of gaming phones released amid growing esports potential
                                                                          • Oculus’ VR League showcases virtual reality esports
                                                                            • Google announces Stadia gaming platform with streaming controls
                                                                              • Companies partner with esports stars during promotional campaigns
                                                                                • Celebrities get involved with esports
                                                                                  • Twitch and Activision Blizzard in $90 million streaming deal
                                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                    • Over four in ten play video games on a weekly basis
                                                                                      • Over a third of gamers watch game streams
                                                                                        • Three in ten gamers watch esports competitions
                                                                                          • YouTube well ahead for watching gameplay
                                                                                            • First person shooters, sport and strategy most popular genres
                                                                                              • Over four in ten gameplay viewers watch to learn
                                                                                                • Three quarters of non-viewing gamers are not interested in esports
                                                                                                  • Opinion weighted esports as a legitimate sport
                                                                                                  • Gaming Habits

                                                                                                      • Over four in ten play video games on a weekly basis
                                                                                                        • Figure 14: Frequency of playing video games, April 2019
                                                                                                      • Men continue to lead video game usage
                                                                                                        • Figure 15: Frequency of playing video games, by gender, April 2019
                                                                                                      • Gaming drops off significantly between Older Millennials and Gen X
                                                                                                        • Figure 16: Frequency of playing video games, by generation, April 2019
                                                                                                      • Around half of gamers play online
                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Playing video games with friends or online, April 2019
                                                                                                      • Younger Millennials most likely to game online
                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Online gaming behaviours by generation, April 2019
                                                                                                    • Watching and Streaming Gameplay

                                                                                                        • Over a third of gamers watch game streams
                                                                                                          • Less than three in ten gamers stream their own gameplay online
                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Watching streams of video games, April 2019
                                                                                                          • Half of Millennials watch gameplay online…
                                                                                                            • Figure 20: Watching streams of video games, by generation, April 2019
                                                                                                          • …and over four in ten Younger Millennials stream their gameplay
                                                                                                            • Figure 21: Streaming gameplay online, by generation, April 2019
                                                                                                        • Watching Esports and Attending Events

                                                                                                          • Three in ten gamers watch esports competitions
                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Watching competitive gaming competitions, April 2019
                                                                                                          • Over four in ten Millennials watch esports
                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Watching competitive gaming by generation, April 2019
                                                                                                          • Over six in ten esports viewers have been to a gameplay event
                                                                                                            • Vast majority of esports viewers prefer it to traditional sport
                                                                                                              • Almost two thirds of esports viewers talk to the streamer
                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Attendance to esports events, preferences and behaviours during gaming streams, April 2019
                                                                                                            • Platforms for Watching Gameplay and Type of Viewing

                                                                                                              • YouTube well ahead for watching gameplay
                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Platforms for watching live or on demand gameplay, April 2019
                                                                                                              • Equal popularity for live and on demand viewing
                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Use of live or on demand video game streaming, April 2019
                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Use of live or on demand video game streaming by generation, April 2019
                                                                                                            • Genres of Esports and Game Streaming Watched

                                                                                                              • First person shooters, sport and strategy most popular genres
                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Type of video game watched live or on demand, April 2019
                                                                                                            • Reasons for Watching Gaming and Source of Introduction

                                                                                                              • Over four in ten gameplay viewers watch to learn
                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Motivations to watch live or on demand gameplay, April 2019
                                                                                                              • Recommendations second for introducing gameplay to new viewers
                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Source of introduction to esports and watching gameplay, April 2019
                                                                                                            • Interest in Esports among Non-viewers

                                                                                                              • Three quarters of non-viewing gamers are not interested in esports
                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Interest in watching or playing esports for current non-viewers, April 2019
                                                                                                              • Uninterested gamers cite lack of understanding in esports’ appeal
                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Reasons for lack of interest in esports, April 2019
                                                                                                            • Esports as a Professional Sport

                                                                                                              • Opinion weighted against esports as a legitimate sport
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Opinions on esport as a professional sport, April 2019
                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology