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Guide to Physical Media shares insight to help brands and sellers .. eBay UK


Opportunity for brands as eBay research reveals 52% of Brits prefer to buy physical books, music, films and video games over digital media

  • Over three quarters (76%) of Brits bought a book, DVD/Blu-ray, CD, vinyl record, or video game in the last year
  • This rises to 83% of 18-24 year olds who have bought an item of physical media in the last year
  • The average Brit owns 260 items of physical media as collecting becomes trendy

Brands are set to benefit from a revival of physical media as the nation’s entertainment format of choice, with over half (52%) of Brits now preferring physical books, music, film/TV and video games to digital downloads. That’s according to eBay, which has today launched its Guide to Physical Media, a brand new report based on eBay marketplace data and a survey of over 2,000 consumers across the UK.

The report reveals that more than three quarters (76%) of British adults have bought at least one item of physical media in the last year, fuelled by the emotional appeal of ownership and an increasing desire to disconnect from the digital world.

Generation ‘Phygital’

And – contrary to expectations – ‘digital natives’ between the ages of 18 and 24 are playing a big part in the revival, with 83% of this age group having bought an item of physical media in the last year. Vinyl is showing a particular resonance with this generation: one in four (25%) 18-24 year olds have bought a vinyl record in the last year, and over a third (38%) of this age group’s vinyl buyers do so at least once a month.

Nearly two thirds (64%) of 18-24 year olds have bought a real book in the last year, 56% have bought a DVD and just over half (51%) have bought a video game.

Instagram culture – epitomised by the rise of the “shelfie” as a means of proclaiming our intellectual allegiances and cultural loyalties – also plays a role in the popularity of physical media amongst young consumers. A quarter of ‘generation phygital’ would buy books to display them, while 17% of 18-24 year olds would buy records to show off on their shelves.

Commenting on the report, Rob Hattrell, Vice President, eBay UK, said: “There’s an opportunity for brands to tap into the trends that are influencing the demand for physical media in the UK, which isn’t confined to the generations that grew up with it. What’s clear is that shoppers show little signs of trading physical for digital, instead they want both. Our Guide to Physical Media shares insight to help brands and sellers maximise this opportunity.”

 Stocking filler favourites 

The giftable nature of physical media entertainment makes Christmas a crucial time for sellers, and the first Sunday of December marks the point when shoppers’ interest in physical media peaks.

On Sunday 4th December 2016, there were more than 2.8 million searches in the four physical media categories on – Books, Comics & Magazines; DVDs, Film & TV; Music; and Video Games & Consoles.

eBay’s 2017 Guide to Physical Media also finds that the average person today owns 260 physical media items – 91 CDs, 88 books, 63 DVDs/Blu-rays and 18 video games – with one in ten owning more than 300 books. On, 58 items of physical media are bought every minute  – that’s 23 books, 13 DVDs, nine CDs, nine video games and four vinyl records.[1]

And consumers aren’t letting their collections gather dust on their shelves.

Each month:

  • Nearly two thirds (63%) of Brits read a physical book
  • Six in ten (60%) listen to music on a CD
  • Over half (54%) watch films or TV on DVD or Blu-ray
  • One in five (19%) listen to vinyl
  • Nearly one in three (31%) play a computer game on disc or cartridge

To satisfy the growing demand for physical media, eBay has recently launched The Entertainment Shop, a curated one-stop shop for books, film, music and games.

[1] Calculated from data from July 2016 – July 2017