Games sales overtook video for the first time last year to become the UK’s biggest entertainment category, according to new figures from trade body the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

Despite a slump in sales of console games during 2011, digital downloads and apps helped to take retail gaming revenue to £1,926m, ahead of video on £1,802m. Games accounted for 40.2% of the entertainment market during the year, compared with video, at 37.6%, and music at 22.2%.

“It is an historic development for the games sector to have overtaken video, which has long been the biggest entertainment sector,” said ERA director general Kim Bayley.

The figures were published today in ERA’s annual handbook, which also highlighted the increasing pressure online and mobile downloads – together with surging sales of home delivery services – were putting on bricks and mortar stores. Growth in online sales has been cited as one of the key reasons Game Group, operator of 650 Game and Gamestation stores in the UK, was forced into voluntary administration this week.

Virtually all physical formats registered declining sales, apart from vinyl albums (up 44% by volume), Blu Ray (up 18.5%) and Xbox 360 (up 3.3%

“Physical formats still account for the vast majority of entertainment sales – 80% of albums are still sold on CD – but lack of investment and innovation in physical product means it is increasingly under pressure,” said Bayley.