People spent half a trillion dollars on digital media subscriptions in 2023

digital devices

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital media consumption, 2023 witnessed a remarkable surge in spending on digital media subscriptions. Despite declines in ownership of various digital devices, such as PCs, tablets, and gaming consoles, the expenditure on digital media subscriptions reached an unprecedented level.

According to data from, global consumers collectively spent nearly half a trillion dollars on digital media subscriptions and downloads in 2023, marking a substantial 13% increase compared to the previous year.

Video-on-Demand Subscriptions Lead Growth with a 20% Increase

The subscription-based model has thrived in recent years, transcending the pandemic-induced surge and solidifying its position as a lucrative revenue stream for publishers. Throughout 2023, digital media subscriptions remained a top priority for consumers, generating significantly higher profits than other revenue streams.

The Digital 2024 Global Overview Report underscores this trend, revealing that consumers worldwide allocated a staggering $498 billion towards digital media subscriptions and downloads in 2023, a substantial uptick of $59 billion from the preceding year. Notably, video games emerged as the dominant segment, contributing nearly half of the total expenditure. With consumers splurging almost $250 billion on video game subscriptions and downloads, representing a noteworthy 12% increase from 2022, the average spending per user amounted to $205.

While video games commanded a lion’s share of the subscription spending, video-on-demand services experienced the most significant growth, witnessing a remarkable 20% increase year-over-year. The average expenditure on video-on-demand subscriptions surged to $56.5 per user, contributing to a total spending of nearly $160 billion.

Regional Disparities in Digital Subscription Spending

Despite the global shift towards digital subscriptions, significant variations exist across countries in terms of consumer spending. Notably, Americans emerged as the leading spenders in this category, with the average online user investing over $850 on digital media subscriptions and downloads in 2023, double the expenditure of their British and German counterparts, and almost five times the global average.

Following closely behind, Japanese consumers exhibited robust spending habits, with an average expenditure of approximately $700 per internet user. South Korea secured the third position, with an average spending of $563 per user, outpacing several Western countries.

In Europe, countries such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Austria showcased notable spending patterns, with average expenditures per user ranging from $403 to $447. Remarkably, 21 countries surpassed the global average expenditure per user, which stood at $176.4 in 2023.

Looking Ahead

The surge in digital media subscription spending signifies a fundamental shift in consumer behavior, with digital subscriptions becoming integral to the modern entertainment landscape. As consumers continue to embrace digital content consumption, publishers and content providers must adapt to evolving preferences and consumption patterns to capitalize on this burgeoning market.

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