A quarter of UK parents aged 35-44 years old are the main users of new consoles

October 16, 2013


With Christmas just around the corner and with it a new range of consoles for young computer game lovers, new research from Mintel finds that it may well be their parents battling for the first turn on the new console this Christmas. Indeed, latest research from Mintel finds as many as a quarter (24%) of all parents aged between 35-44 admit that they will be the main users of new consoles purchased for the household.

Today, almost half (42%) of adult consumers claim they would be the main user of any new console purchased for their home. Meanwhile, just half (48%) of all internet using parents claim their children would be the main user of any new console purchased for the home.

Samuel Gee, Senior Technology Analyst at Mintel, said:

“That a quarter of 35-44 parents would be the main user of any console purchased for their home may seem surprising, but should not be given the industry’s heritage. Generation Y consumers who grew up with gaming in the 1980s are now parents and in large part have continued the pastime. This love of gaming amongst older consumers does not just apply to consoles like the Wii and Wii U though, which have proven popular in the past with parents and grandparents. A third of 35-44s own a PlayStation 3, with a similar proportion owning an Xbox 360. Interest in next generation consoles is similarly strong.”

Demonstrating the importance of adults in the buying process – it seems that even when children have input into the buying process, it is more likely to be collaborative than instructive. For parents of children aged 5-9, 15% would allow their child to freely choose the next console in their home, compared to 54% who would listen to their child’s opinion before ultimately choosing themselves.

“With each year that passes, the age range of the gaming target market is widening, increasing the potential value of the market and the opportunities within it. There will come a time in the near to medium future where games publishers will have a market of over-45s who still have – if not a dedication to – a strong interest in gaming as a medium, art form or pastime. Planning ahead on how to appeal or cater to these consumers, in terms of games they may enjoy or controllers they may feel comfortable using, could unlock in advance a huge source of revenue for the industry.” Sam continues.

Overall, an impressive six in ten (62%) Brits are some kind of gamer. One in ten (9%) consumers consider themselves hardcore gamers, playing video games every day or most days. Meanwhile, one in five (19%) are regular gamers who play at least once a week but not every day. Furthermore, a quarter (26%) of Brits are casual or social gamers playing every now and then. Less than one in ten (8%) are lapsed players while four in ten (38%) are non-gamers.

And confirming boys love of toys, an impressive 55% of men admit they will be the main user of future consoles in the household compared to just 29% of women. Women are also more likely to agree that their children will be the main future users of a new console (21%) compared to 16% of men.

The video game and console market was in steady decline between 2008 and 2012, as the effects of the recession on consumer spending were felt. However, the market is expected to pick up in 2013 with a massive surge in December as the next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony are released, when the market is estimated to increase 13% to reach £1.8 billion by the end of 2013. This growth will continue into 2014 when the market is estimated to increase 23% to reach £2.2 billion.

“While growth is set to continue, it is not expected to forecast to mimic the explosive 2007/08 gains seen at the release of the previous generation of video games and consoles, as a fragmented market, the sector now has casual games played on smartphones and tablets competing for spend.” Sam concludes.


Jennifer Clement
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