Top-of-the-line gaming PC components are a big business, according to a new report by Jon Peddie Research. The market analysis firm says that, out of all the money spent on "gaming motivated PC hardware" in 2009, a whopping 46% of it went toward so-called enthusiast parts. In this case, that term refers to "boutique PCs, high-end processors and graphics cards, SSD's, specialized gaming mice, keyboards, speakers, monitors, etc."
All in all, expenditure in that part of the market reportedly totaled a cool $9.5 billion in 2009. Not bad.
JPR expects top-of-the-line gaming hardware revenue will continue to grow over the next few years, although it will make up a smaller portion of the overall gaming PC market:
By 2013 the Enthusiast class will lose market share to the Performance and Mainstream classes from 46% to 35% of dollars spent. The good news for Enthusiast hardware producers is that this "market share shrink" occurs in an expanding market and expenditures on the Enthusiast class will grow from $9.5 billion to almost $12.5 billion in 2013.
Why the market share shrink? As JPR analyst Ted Pollak points out in the report, hardware requirements for PC games are stagnating. Users can therefore get away with more modest components that still run cross-platform games smoothly. Perhaps the launch of next-generation consoles between now and 2013 could change that, though. JPR doesn't seem to address that possibility.
The same report includes a few other nuggets of information. Most interestingly, JPR estimates that the do-it-yourself PC building and upgrading market generates $10.4 billion in sales each year. Before you go thinking that's a mere subset of the gaming PC business, JPR says the figure spans "all purchasing motivation, including business applications."