More traditional pursuits like reading and playing board games are holding their own in homes around the country, as families in the UK head into their third week of coronavirus lockdown, according to The Insights People.
In the UK, the number of children who have been reading paperback books has remained the same during lockdown, but engagement levels have increased. With the extra home time, young avid readers are spending longer reading for fun that than were before, with an increase of 4 per cent to to 17.2 per cent.
On the toy front, kids’ need to connect is reflected in their choice of playthings and how they want to spend their time. Playing with board games has become increasingly popular over the past month, a trend reflected in the sector’s sales growth, as families dig out their favourites or buy new titles as a means to spend more time together and increase the amount of co-play between siblings and parents. Board games have become the favourite quarantine toy for 2 per cent in the UK, a 66 per cent increase prior to the closure of schools and widespread move to adults working from home.
Also on the rise among kids is the desire for a Barbie doll, up from 1 per cent to 1.5 percent, with a desire for cars and other play vehicles also climbing to 0.8 per cent from 0.5 per cent.
But social media and screen time have not been left behind. In fact, the lockdown has thrown up a few interesting trends, the first of which is the soaring popularity of apps such as Houseparty, which lets users video call multiple people at once, as well as play rudimentary quizzes and games.
In the UK, the Houseparty app has grown substantially in the last month. The latest data from The Insights People show that 140,000 kids aged five to 18 have used it to chat in the last month, up from an average across the last year of just 13,000, with girls aged 16-18 tending to be the main users of the platform. Across the pond in the US, where sporadic lockdown measures are become more uniform from state to state, Houseparty has also demonstrated similar growth in the last month. The most prolific users are, again, profiling older, but with an even split in user base between girls and boys.
The popularity of Facebook, a platform that was losing its younger audience to the likes of Instagram and Snapchat, is also growing. The resurgence in Facebook usage among kid has seen the social media platform increase from an average of 7.2 per cent to 8.5 per cent – an 18 per cent increase. Kids tell The Insights People that it has become their favourite platform: not only is it a place they can socialise with friends, it also appeals to the older generations of their families, making it easier to communicate with relations around the world