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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 00:15 GMT
UK 'tops literary spending league'
Bookshop
The UK is becoming a nation of bookworms, says Mintel
Britons spend more on DVDs, videos and books than any of their European counterparts, according to new research.


DVD should continue to drive growth for a number of years, especially as DVD players come down in price,

Richard Perks, Mintel
A new report from market researchers Mintel estimates that the British spend an average of 184 euros (118; $185) each on these items every year, compared with the Germans' 158 euros and 111 euros for the French.

And while Germany is the biggest single market in Europe for DVDs, videos and books, the UK's is the fastest-growing, helped in part by bumper sales of the Harry Potter books.

UK music sales have also held up well, posting growth of 5% in 2001 against a 10% decline in Germany.

However, there are signs that the UK market for recorded music succumbed to the worldwide trend of falling sales during the first six months of 2002.

Mintel said flagging music sales reflect the impact of cheap pirated recordings and the growing popularity of CD burning and online song-swapping.

DVD in demand

The UK also holds the top spot for video and DVD sales, both in terms of growth and overall size.

European entertainment media market
Books 59%
Music 23%
DVDs 18%

The UK market for these products grew by an estimated 26% in 2001 to 3.1bn euros, nearly twice the size of its closest rival, France.

Mintel analyst Richard Perks said this trend was likely to continue, driven by strong sales of DVDs.

"DVD should continue to drive growth for a number of years, especially as DVD players come down in price," he said.

So far, only 12% of UK households own a DVD player, leaving plenty of room for expansion, the report said.

In other European countries, however, growth in demand for DVDs is likely to be limited by consumers' strong preference for watching films on the big screen.

Online opportunity

Demand for books is also strong in the UK, with about 60% of British respondents to a Mintel poll saying they have bought a book in the last year compared with just 40% in Spain and Germany.

About 21% of UK and French respondents said they bought 10 books a year, while the rest of Europe lagged behind with just 13%.

Mintel also downplayed the competitive threat that internet book, music and film sellers pose to High Street shops, saying that there would be room for traditional retailers to move into the online marketplace.

"Pure-play specialists have emerged and are growing their market share, but we believed that only the strongest such as Amazon will be able to survive in the long term," said Mr Perks.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mandy Baker
"In the last year 60 percent of Britons bought a book"
See also:

24 Oct 02 | Business
04 Oct 02 | Business
01 Oct 02 | Business
27 Jun 02 | Business
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