CG market to reach $160 billion by 2024

Photo by Nathan De Fortunato on Unsplash

Industry increased to 2% CAGR growth for next few years

The computer graphics market has not been immune to the COVID-19 pandemic and had a slight drop in growth in 2021 but is expected to come roaring back in 2022.

Computer graphics is not a thing, but a collection of things and people: processors, engineers, lots of memory, artists, displays and XR, technical directors, programmers, and zillions of lines of code.

That collection of technologies and people that makes up the exciting CG market has and continues to grow — sometimes exponentially, other times with Moore’s law. Growth in the dollar value of the market has leveled off a bit, but that seems normal for the extraordinary times we’re been through in the past year and a half.

The accompanying chart shows the growth in hardware and software. The software aspects of the market have been steady and hardware segments have been varied, influenced by consumer products such as mobile devices and PC gaming machines. In the hardware segment, everything gets bigger (monitors are now 49-inches), and faster (everything is expressed in GHz or TFLOPS).

Figure 1: Overall Computer Graphics Market

The computer graphics hardware market was worth $135 billion in 2019 and is expected to increase to $137 billion by 2024, with software growing slightly and a little less than hardware.

Monitors used for graphics$1.0$1.1$1.2$1.3$1.3$1.4
Game consoles$12$12$14$17$16$17
Total gaming PCs$35$36$36$37$37$38
Mobile devices$75$71$66$67$65$62
TOTAL hardware ($B)$135$133$131$138$137$137
Table 1: Computer Graphics Hardware Market

The hardware segment of the CG industry has seen steady overall growth, with some ups and downs due to product cycles and the irregularity of the PC market, and the pandemic. The unpredictability of the supply chain has helped keep hardware interesting.

The year 2020 and the first half of 2021 saw the introduction of new GPUs and add-in boards (AIBs) with ray tracing capabilities, and several new CPUs, and next-gen game consoles.

The market for CG software in 2020 was worth $18 billion (not counting services, maintenance, and other aspects), and is expected to grow to almost $24 billion by 2024 as the industry continues to shift its sales model, moving more services to the cloud and transitioning to a subscriber system.

Figure 2: Computer graphics content creation market

For all-out talk about ray tracing and rendering, the digital graphics market is still dominated by CAD/CAM. Even digital video is a bigger market than the modeling or rendering segments, and yet, when one reads about CG, it’s all about the special effects in games and movies. That’s easy to understand. Everyone loves VFX and has experienced it. However, as hardware support for ray tracing becomes universal with products from AMD, Nvidia, and presumably Intel, we expect to see rendering in general working its way deeper into all production pipelines for M&E, AEC, and MFG. The evolution to digital twin will help drive it.

In reality, truly amazing things are happening in CAD as the digital and real get connected. CAD has taken a leap and it shows in increased revenues for all companies. And, although unsung, CAD is often involved in the heavy lifting of all those 3D models of cities and spaceships. The beautiful ray-traced images of automobiles, gorgeous skyscrapers, and clothing, bottles, and other consumer goods — it’s all CG and we expect to see more of it.

CAD/CAM software$8.50$9.06$9.97$10.20$10.70$11.10
Modeling and Animation$0.29$0.31$0.32$0.35$0.37$0.39
Digital Video$4.76$5.15$5.76$6.45$7.01$7.57
Rendering, visualization and simulation$0.62$0.65$0.68$0.71$0.74$0.77
Imaging (Raster & Vector applications)$2.89$3.07$3.25$3.59$3.77$4.00
TOTAL applications ($B)$17.07$18.23$19.99$21.30$22.59$23.83
Table 2: Computer Graphics Software Market

The demand continues for programmers, artists, scientists, and designers. Despite the pandemic, we’re still seeing startups arrive in emerging and reborn markets such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and casual games. Artificial intelligence is playing an ever bigger role in image processing, ray tracing, and AR. The arrival of new APIs and platforms are also stimulating development. Firms are actively looking for people who can use and exploit these new programs and their associated hardware accelerators.

Given the upheaval of the supply-chain, offsetting the trend in dropping costs, and the increasing users and usage of CG tools and hardware, we predict that the rate of growth for the CG industry will remain fairly steady for the foreseeable future. Computer graphics is truly a worldwide industry now.

Jon Peddie Research (JPR) is a technically oriented marketing, research, and management consulting firm. Based in Tiburon, California, JPR provides specialized services to companies in high-tech fields including graphics hardware development, multimedia for professional applications and consumer electronics, entertainment technology, high-end computing, and Internet access product development.

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