We're a nation with 20 million MP3 players, but that still buys 80% of its music on disc; a country that delights in war games yet has a soft spot for Susan Boyle. The UK also hasn't gone bonkers for Blu-ray but remains keen for a DVD bargain. And someone, somewhere is hoarding VHS tapes...

These are just some of the fascinating facts and figures to emerge from the annual report of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), an alliance of online and High Street music, movie and games shops that sell more than 90% of the discs and downloads we buy in the UK every year.

Movie sales fall, but remain our most-popular purchase

As our news story yesterday revealed, the UK spent 8.5% less on its home entertainment last year – though that's still a whopping £5.2 billion, with 472.9m units sold.

Video - including Blu-ray, DVD and movie downloads, though not music videos - remains the largest market sector, on which we spent more than £2.1 billion (10.6% down on 2008).

Hot on its heels is the games market, which accounts for £1.85 billion of our spend (11% down) and then music (including music videos), which only dropped slightly (0.8%) to £1.31 billion.

Games may take second place in terms of value (of which more shortly), but almost twice as many music purchases were made in 2009: 154.8 million music sales compared to 79.6m games and 238.5m videos.

How much did we pay?

Games are big business, then - the average price paid for games has actually risen recently, to a hefty £21.34 in 2009. In comparison, movies and music fell to the lowest prices yet.

For the first time the price of a CD album fell below £8 - to £7.99, while the average selling price of a DVD - £8.62 - was only a little higher.

UK consumers paid almost double - £16.84 on average - to add to their Blu-ray collections.

And while we're comparing DVD to BD, the new HD discs sold 123% more last year than in 2008, but still only account for 3.4% of the overall movie market - that's 140.8m Blu-ray discs sold compared to 2 billion DVDs.

Quite bizarrely, VHS sales doubled last year, to 92,201. End-of-format sell-off blip, or VCR revival? The former, we feel...

Top 10 movie buys

 

 2009 didn't have a blockbuster as big as 2008's Mamma Mia (which sold 5m+ copies), but 12 movies sold more than a million copies last year. Here's the top 10:

1) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - 2.2m copies

2) Quantum of Solace - 2m

3) Twilight - 1.8m

4) Slumdog Millionaire - 1.4m

5) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - 1.4m

6) Michael Mcintyre - Hello Wembley - 1.3m

7) Madagascar - Escape 2 Africa - 1.2m

8) Angels & Demons - 1.1m

9) High School Musical 3 - Senior Year - 1m

10) Ice Age 3 - Dawn of the Dinosaurs - 1m

The other million-sellers were Star Trek and The Dark Knight.

Blu-ray's biggest hits

 

The previous chart obviously covers all formats; just strip out the Blu-ray sales, however, and it's a very different story, certainly in terms of the types of films/likely audience. Unsurprisingly, we're largely loving to showcase our new Blu-ray systems with the loudest, bloodiest action possible!

Here's the Blu-ray chart ranked by the percentage of the movie's sales on the new HD format, but also including its actual sales figures - on BD and overall:

1) Terminator Salvation - 158,648 Blu-rays sold: 25% of its total 634K sales

2) Star Trek - 227,347: 21.8% of its 1m sales

3) Inglorious Basterds - 117,993 : 21.6% of its 546K sales

4) Watchmen - 101,604 :19.1% of its 531K sales

5) Wall-E - 65,791 :17.4% of its 378K sales

6) X-Men Origins - Wolverine - 85,425 : 16.2% of its 528K sales

7) Knowing - 57,438 :15.9% of its 362K sales

8)  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - 53,994 :15.5% of its 348K sales

9) The Dark Knight - 158,570 :15.4% of its 1m sales

10) Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen - 209,847 :15.4% of its 1.4m sales

So, Terminator Salvation was the movie with the highest percentage of its sales on the Blu-ray format, despite being only the 25th bestselling title last year.

Also interesting to note the continued/increased BD appeal of 2008's big movies - notably The Dark Knight and Wall-E - as deals abounded on those and other older titles.

Music - discs vs downloads

Moving onto music - a sector of the home entertainment market that shrank a mere 0.8% last year - the big story is, of course, the dominance of downloads. Or is it?

Singles sales rose 32.7% last year (27.5% in value), and this growth was certainly fuelled by downloads - physical single sales fell by 36.3% to just 3.1m, compared to 149.7m downloads sold.

However, despite an 8% fall in CD sales last year (value and volume), physical formats still dominate the album market - a sector which, unlike singles, fell last year, by 3.7%.

UK music-lovers spent £1010m on 118.5m CD albums last year- that compares to £119m spent on 16.1m album downloads. The ERA predicts the swing to digital will increase in the album market this year, with album downloads overtaking singles downloads in 2010.

Another music sector where physical formats are flourishing is music video, where sales grew by more than 14% last year, to 5 million units/£55.9m.

So, that's all the music numbers - what about the songs and albums we actually bought?

2009's UK Top 10 Singles

Single sales may have been up, with £128.7m of sales in 2009, but the days of the million-seller single are long gone. Here are the top 10 bestsellers, 98% of which were download sales:

More after the break

 

1) Poker Face - Lady Gaga - 882,059 sold

2) I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas - 848,648

3) Just Dance - Lady Gaga - 767,558

4) Fight for this Love - Cheryl Cole - 745,748

5) The Climb - Joe McElderry - 716,358

6) In For The Kill - La Roux - 670,390

7) Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas - 616,980

8) Killing In The Name - Rage Against the Machine - 608,077

9) Bad Boys - Alexandra Burke - 576,019

10) Meet Me Halfway - Black Eyed Peas - 567,948

 Incidentally, Universal Music (seven songs) and Sony Music (three) dominate that bestseller list.

2009's UK Top 10 Albums

She may have only been the runner-up on the Britain's Got Talent show, but Susan Boyle was the winner when it came to album sales. I Dreamed a Dream achieved the highest first-week sales ever for a debut album (410,000 copies), and went on to sell 1.63m last year.

Five other albums sold more than a million, and only one compilation album made the top 10; compilations are in noted decline as downloads make it easy to buy just the singles you want.

1) I Dreamed A Dream - Susan Boyle - 1.63m sales

2) The Fame - Lady Gaga - 1.39m

3) Crazy Love - Michael Buble - 1.2m

4) The End - Black Eyed Peas - 1.1m

5) Only By the Night - Kings of Leon - 1.1m

6) Now That's What I Call Music 74 - 1m

7) JLS - JLS - 970K

8) I Am Sasha Fierce - Beyonce - 822K

9) Sunny Side Up - Paolo Nutini - 810K

10) It's Not Me It's You - Lily Allen - 779K

2009's UK Top 10 Music Videos

A fantastically mixed bag of music-video bestsellers last year, topped by Take That - also the top-selling music video artist in 2008. Three entries for the late Michael Jackson, too:

1) The Circus- Live - Take That - 498K sales

2) Moonwalker - Michael Jackson - 266K

3) The Final Reunion - Cliff Richard & The Shadows - 189K

4) Live from the Royal Albert Hall - The Killers - 73K

5) An Evening With - Live in Barcelona - Il Divo - 71K

6) Live in Bucharest - The Dangerous Tour - Michael Jackson - 62K

7) Live in London - George Michael - 52K

8) High School Musical - The Concert - 51K

9) Hope & Praise - Daniel O'Donnell - 49K

10) Number Ones - Michael Jackson - 48K

 

2009's UK Top 10 Games

The games industry had a stellar 2008, with both games and consoles sales booming. With less new consoles sold in 2009, fewer games were bought, too. But there was one massive success story: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

In its first week on sale, gamers spent £67.m on this single title - more than the combined value of the music and movie markets during those 7 days. It even eclipsed the traditional market-leader from the FIFA franchise, and became the biggest-selling home entertainment title of the year.

 

1) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - 2.9m copies sold

2) FIFA 10 - 2.2m

3) Wii Sports Resort - 1.5m

4) Wii FIT - 1.2m

5) Wii FIT PLUS - 968K

6) Assassin's Creed II - 920K

7) Mario Kart Wii - 918K

8) Mario & Sonic at Olympic Winter Games - 825K

9) Call of Duty: World at War - 770K

10) FIFA 09 - 713K

The popularity of its Wii console and DS handheld saw Nintendo continue to be the market-leader, with software for its platforms outselling those for Sony and Microsoft platforms combined.

Other notable trends include a 13% rise in X-Box software sales and a massive decline - almost 25% -  in PC games sold.

Where did the UK buy its home entertainment?

Finally, where did we part with our music, movie and gaming cash last year? Online is increasingly the answer: around 30% of all music, movie and games sales were made via internet retail in 2009.

Supermarkets are another success story - especially for movies, where they took 40% of all sales.

It's the specialist and smaller retailers that are suffering from the internet/supermarket squeeze - the saddest (and sadly unsurprising) news is that a mere 269 independent music stores were trading in 2009; that's less than half the number in business in 2006.