Graphics Card Shipments Grew Nearly 30% to 50 Million Units in 2021

Graphics card shipment trends
(Image credit: MSI)

The graphics card market grew to over $50 billion in shipments from AMD and Nvidia partners in 2021, according to a recently published report by at Graphic Speak. Over 50 million add-in boards (AIBs) were shipped during the year, and the market as a whole saw shipments increase by nearly 30% across the year.

AMD and Nvidia have been reporting record breaking gaming segment revenues over recent quarters. If you thought this might be simply the two graphics card titans and their partners making the most of the high prices alone, you wouldn't be totally correct, shipments grew significantly over the year too. What we don't know is precisely how many of those cards ended up used for cryptocurrency mining, as opposed to gaming. (Our guess: a lot of them!)

With the whole of 2021 now analyzed and accounted for, Graphic Speak (a Jon Peddie Research publication) reports that the AIB market reached $51.8 billion. This figure represents a full year's growth of 29.5%. In terms of quantities of graphics cards shipped, JPR reckons that 42 million graphics cards hit the market in 2020, rising to over 50 million last year. These figures suggest the average selling price of a graphics card in 2021 was an astonishing $1,000+.

That increased income might be very pleasing for the red and green teams and their partners, but the industry could do better with regards to units, as 116 million graphics cards shipped back in 1998. Of course, the average price back then would have been significantly lower.

GFX Speak shared some interesting figures for AMD and Nvidia separately. AMD appears to have done very nicely in 2021. Its quarter-to-quarter total desktop AIB unit shipments increased 12.4%, and increased 35.7% from the same quarter last year.

(Image credit: MSI)

However, Nvidia remains extremely dominant with a market share of 77.2% through 2021, though its increases weren't as impressive. Its quarter-to-quarter unit shipments increased 0.5%, and increased 27.7% from the same quarter last year.

Dr. Jon Peddie, the president of JPR, also made some comments on the latest published research. Peddie indicated that no one was certain whether Intel will sell its desktop GPUs via AIBs, go it alone, or use both channels. We expect it will follow the market trend set by AMD and Nvidia, making use of AIBs and custom designs.

Another point raised by Peddie was that Intel will be entering the desktop GPU market at a point where it could see cryptomining based sales slip, and the Covid lockdown hangover fully kick-in. If this ends up being the case, team blue may end up being a Johnny-come-lately rather than a knight in shining armor.

We just finished Q1 2022 and don't have figures for this most recent period as yet, but if pressure is being kept on, in terms of shipments rising, we have another reason behind the recent consumer GPU pricing trends we have observed. Cryptominers might even still be hungry for GPUs, but supply might be coming closer to keeping up with demand. Bountiful stock will also spoil any fun scalpers were having, collapsing their house of cards. Let's hope that's the case, as GPU prices in general remain around 50% above the official MSRPs.

Mark Tyson
News Editor

Mark Tyson is a news editor at Tom's Hardware. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • King_V
    Bountiful stock will also spoil any fun scalpers were having, collapsing their house of cards.

    I am glaring angrily at this sentence, but only because I didn't come up with it first.