Bottom line: Consumer spending on PC gaming hardware and accessories in the US reached $4.5 billion in 2020, an increase of 62 percent compared to 2019 and more than double the total sales that occurred in 2017. Had inventory shortages and scalpers not been a constant in the latter half of 2020, consumer spending on hardware like CPUs and video cards likely would have been even higher.

According to The NPD Group, all hardware and accessory categories experienced double-digit growth last year, but it was PC headsets, monitors and keyboards that saw the most growth, both in terms of dollars generated and units sold.

Sales of digital PC content, meanwhile, climbed 19 percent to $7.5 billion, the firm noted.

Stephen Baker, NPD's technology industry advisor, said the pandemic lockdown measures played a role in the growth seen in the segment as consumers looked to entertain themselves while at home. Mat Piscatella, video game industry analyst for The NPD Group, echoed those sentiments.

"Over the course of 2020, there was a significant increase in both the number of PC video game players as well as the time and money those players invested in PC gaming," Piscatella added.

Looking ahead, The NPD Group is expecting to see a plateauing of demand at elevated levels for PC gaming hardware and accessories. As such, the group is forecasting growth of just three percent in the segment in 2021.

Image credit Gorodenkoff, Ekkaphan Chimpalee