Kids Insights: 8.8 million UK-based kids turn to video gaming during lockdown

The latest report from the children’s industry analysts looks at the growth of gaming across all audiences and highlights Nintendo’s Animal Crossing as one the most popular titles

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 07.07.2020 | Business

Kids Insights: 8.8 million UK-based kids turn to video gaming during lockdown thumbnail

Kids Insights has reported that more than 8.8 million children across the UK have turned to video gaming as the go-to hobby of the lockdown period. The report from the children’s industry analysts highlights the popularity of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing title.

Kids Insights, part of the Insights People, has issued its latest Trend Alert On-Track reports which focus on the global and flash trends occurring in the world of kids, highlighting the latest trends, opportunities and the possible implications on the kid’s industry.  

The company currently surveys more than 3,000 children every week, across four continents and nine countries, equal to more than 150,000 children a year, making them one of the most comprehensive and dynamic market intelligence specialists in kids, tweens, and teens. 

Kids Insights’ On-Track reports are based predominantly on the results of surveying more than 15,000 children across the UK and Europe over the last twelve weeks (between 1 February and 30 April 2020), though the company also utilises data which has been collected dating back to May 2017. 

Gaming continues to grow in popularity with all audiences  

The latest reports from Kids Insights explore how quickly children adapted their lives since lockdown started, and how this has impacted their attitudes, behaviour and consumption – all of which are becoming increasingly digital centric. It found that while kids’ favourite hobby across Europe remains football, the restrictions of not being able to play and watch football has seen a significant decrease in the number of kids talking about it, with a decrease of nearly 90 per cent in Italy.  

However, while conventional sports are reducing, esports are booming with kids shifting their attention and focus to watching and playing esports games. For example, in the UK, teenagers watching esports increased by 28 per cent, from 16.7 per cent in March, up to 22.5 per cent – equivalent to 883,000 viewers in April. 

According to Kids Insights, boys are more likely to be avid gamers with it being the second favourite hobby (15 per cent) in 2020 – second only to football (22.3 per cent). Quarantine has driven more children to take up gaming, with younger girl teens (13-15) increasing their video game playtime by 28 per cent in the UK (38 per cent in Spain) from March to April alone. And, while the majority of esports viewers are boys, the number of girls watching increased by a third over the quarter, with an estimated 40,000 more girls now watching esports. 

Animal Crossing: A new generation of gamers  

Kids Insights highlighted Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, a social ‘open-world’ game, as one of the most popular games being played. The fifth instalment of the Animal Crossing series, developed and published by Nintendo, was launched on 20 March 2020. It has performed impressively in the data and has quickly become the third favourite game on a console with teen girls in France, fourth in Germany, sixth in the UK and eighth in Spain. 

Jonathan Watson, CPO Kids Insights, says: “Over the last two years we have spoken about how the next generation of kids don’t expect to passively consume content, they want to co-create, build and develop the content to get much more personalised experiences and reflects in our latest Trend Alert Reports. Some of the most popular games to take this approach over the last two years include Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft. Based on our data it looks like Animal Crossing could be about to join that coveted list  

“The fifth instalment of Animal Crossing is currently breaking through due to its unique customisation, giving kids a platform to be creative and play in an open world environment which appeals to gamers looking for relaxed and social gameplay. 

“As a result, agile brands can utilise these new platforms to increase brand awareness and engage with their audiences.” 

More than a game – a lifestyle  

Kids Insights believes that this innovation will have a big impact on retail, licencing, and merchandise. Its data indicates that 17.2 per cent of kids who named Animal Crossing as their favourite game also purchase clothes relating to their favourite video games. This bodes well for Nintendo’s decision to sell their Animal Products via the My Nintendo shop.  

One of the game’s key features is that players are able to customise clothes as well as acquire branded clothes in the game. 

This has been replicated through Nintendo stores in Tokyo, Japan with the production of merchandise, and replicating the creativity of the game with furniture for your own house inspired by the game, as well as clothing and decorative items.  

Kids Insights continues to track this and thousands of other properties daily in their real-time data portal. To get complimentary access to the demo version of the award-winning portal, visit: kidsinsights.com/portaldemo 

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