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Average GPU Pricing Skyrockets as Market Quadruples to $12.5 Billion, Report Says

MSI
(Image credit: MSI)

Discrete GPU suppliers for desktop PCs nearly quadrupled the cash they raked in during Q1 2021 compared to this time last year. That's due to the skyrocketing increases in average selling prices (ASPs), according to Jon Peddie Research.

Nvidia retained its leadership and outsold its rival AMD four-to-one in the discrete GPU market, but it's clear that both vendors are selling every chip they can manufacture.  

GPU Pricing Skyrockets, Revenue Jumps 370%

According to the report, GPU makers earned around $12.5 billion in Q1, a whopping 370% increase over last year. A big part of that gain is due to skyrocketing pricing. 

(Image credit: Jon Peddie Research)

As you can see in the image above, everything changed in the second half of 2020 when GPU pricing — from entry to midrange and from high-end to workstation — skyrocketed nearly overnight in the fourth quarter as a result of demand from gamers and miners. 

Today the average price of an entry-level graphics card is $496, a mid-range board costs $809, and a high-end GPU carries an $1,358 price tag, according to JPR.  

Analysts from Jon Peddie Research believe that price increases are driven by a number of factors, including component shortages, insufficient manufacturing capacity, strong demand from gamers, and solid (albeit limited) demand from Ethereum cryptocurrency mining.

Interestingly, the average price of a GPU has increased slowly over the years as lower-end systems migrated to integrated GPUs, whereas owners of higher-end machines demanded better standalone graphics boards. For instance, the average pricing for a high-end graphics card increased from around $500 in the first half of 2018 to around $780 in the first half of 2020. Meanwhile, average prices of entry-level and midrange third-party cards tend to fluctuate depending on actual offerings and refresh cycles. Those incremental price increases turned into an avalanche in recent times, though. 

11.77 Million Graphics Cards for Desktops Sold in Q1

Unit shipments of discrete graphics cards for desktop PCs reached 11.77-11.8 million units in Q1 2021, a 7.77% quarter-over-quarter increase and a noticeable 24.4% year-over-year growth, JPR reports. Typically, sales of graphics boards drop in Q1 compared to the prior quarter, but that was not the case this year. 

(Image credit: Jon Peddie Research)

The increased sales can be explained by the growing demand for gaming graphics cards as well as add-in-boards used for cryptocurrency mining. 

(Image credit: Jon Peddie Research)

AMD managed to increase its market share by 3% in the first quarter and commanded 20% of discrete GPU unit shipments. In contrast, Nvidia lost 3% but had a market share of 80%, still a dominant position. 

(Image credit: Jon Peddie Research)

"We believe the stay-at-home orders created demand in 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021," the analysts said. "Home PCs and workstations became the center of professional life and often the main source of entertainment during the lockdowns. Gaming added to the pressure on the supply chain as it continued to grow in popularity. But, as we said, this is also an anomalous period in graphics history. Prices are high as a result of shortages and so is demand in response to cryptocurrency prices."

  • Augusstus
    Thanks miners! Your farts ever be dry!
    Reply
  • Jimbojan
    The unit sale has not increased QoQ, just the price increases, then it is not going to last, especially Intel is driving hard into the discrete market, the sale value will bound to decrease either through price reduction or through volume demand. The splendid demand due to covid virus is an abnormal event, it is not clear how long will it last.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    I was expecting the low end to become $500 next year… so we are early in it. I was expecting middle range to be $1000 next year… so we are behind the schedule.. and i expected highend to become $2000 to $3000 next year… also behind schedule in there…
    Have to see what low end gpus i can afford in the years to come…
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    Jimbojan said:
    The unit sale has not increased QoQ, just the price increases, then it is not going to last, especially Intel is driving hard into the discrete market, the sale value will bound to decrease either through price reduction or through volume demand. The splendid demand due to covid virus is an abnormal event, it is not clear how long will it last.

    Unit sales did increase, by 0.77 million units. I'd love to know the breakdown of various GPU models, but if you look at the above chart, that's around 34 million discrete GPUs sold since the RTX 30-series and RX 6000-series first launched. Going with the 80-20 figures, that's 27 million GPUs sold by Nvidia in the past nine months. However, many of those could still be Turing GPUs. Still, probably at least half would be Ampere? Actually, maybe half are GTX 16-series, then half of the remaining are Ampere? (Those cheaper cards have far higher volumes — could be way more than half of the sales for GTX 16-series.)
    Reply
  • saunupe1911
    Cryptocurrency is the devil. The crap is messing up numerous markets. It's even affected the auto industry. Folks have loss more than they have gained with it. But heck these insane markets have affected your quality of life even if you had gained a lot of cash from crpyto smh. You can't buy what's not for sale smh
    Reply
  • Johnpombrio
    The chip shortage is strictly due to CoVid. A year ago, the bottom had dropped out of jobs, shopping, office work, school, airlines, auto sales, and SO much more. tech companies reacted by slashing sales expectations, inventory, laying off workers, and CANCELLING orders for computer parts. Since it takes a YEAR from the time a chip is ordered and queued for a FAB until the finished product, we are in the midst of all these canceled orders.
    FP_g-as29x0View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP_g-as29x0
    Reply
  • russell_john
    That's kind of bogus data and doesn't really say what you claim it does .....

    Manufacturers don't get any more money because some scalpers have jacked up the prices, they make the exact same whether it's sold at MSRP or if it is sold for astronomical prices by Scalpers ...... Any increase for manufacturers is based on units sold alone and not the warped market prices
    Reply
  • russell_john
    Johnpombrio said:
    The chip shortage is strictly due to CoVid. A year ago, the bottom had dropped out of jobs, shopping, office work, school, airlines, auto sales, and SO much more. tech companies reacted by slashing sales expectations, inventory, laying off workers, and CANCELLING orders for computer parts. Since it takes a YEAR from the time a chip is ordered and queued for a FAB until the finished product, we are in the midst of all these canceled orders.
    FP_g-as29x0View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP_g-as29x0

    If you actually looked at AMD's and Nvidia's finacial reports in 2020 you'd know that just wasn't true ..... The shortage is caused by record demand and TSMC is booked solid and never cut production even for a week in 2020
    Reply
  • hannibal
    They just sell everything! Also they have consentrate to most expensive versions instead of low end ones. And that is that! Their profit themselves is not gone up and their sell out price has remained to be about the same as before. But instead of mixed sales, they only sell the most expensive variants.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    Another piece of data I would love to see along with this is how many systems were sold with said GPUs in the same time period.
    Reply