Kids Insights


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Our latest research published in Toys n Playthings, looks at how virtual reality maybe set to period of growth in 2020.

We know that by the end of the previous decade, kids’ levels of ownership and access of technology is higher than ever before, and in 2020 and beyond this is set to evolve and change further – particularly in the world of gaming.

Not only are we seeing a shift towards mobile gaming, but the current generation of consoles – the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – are coming towards the end of their lifespan. Our data shows 38% of children in the UK own a console and 57% have access to one. Console ownership is the highest amongst young teens (51%) but ownership has remained stagnant over the past two years, falling 3% overall since Q4 2017, while access to consoles has fallen 7%.

As the year plays out and Sony and Microsoft’s latest devices are launched, we will be set to see whether console gaming is in a holding pattern – waiting for the next generation – or approaching an end, superseded by mobile, cloud or other forms of gaming.

The newest form of gaming devices, virtual reality headsets, have seen some very modest growth in terms of ownership levels. Since the beginning of 2019, the number of kids who own the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift VR headset have grown 36% and 40% respectively but levels of access are still low, for now. The most popular devices are PlayStation VR (2%) and the Samsung Gear VR headset (1%). These kids who own VR are early adopters of the device, and technology in general; they’re significantly more likely than average to own every type of tech device. PlayStation VR owners for example are more than twice as likely to own a gaming console.

That said, children have a wide range of interests and hobbies. Gaming is the second favourite hobby only to football, whilst playing with LEGO is the fifth favourite hobby for boys aged 8-12. For boys under 10, Nerf guns as a desired toy have risen 250% since Q1 2019 and some brands are discovering ways of combining physical toys and gaming. Fornite, the second favourite console game for boys this age in 2019, collaborated with Hasbro to create blasters inspired by the Fortnite game – pushing the brand further into other parts of a child’s ecosystem and growing affinity.

Perhaps as VR becomes less expensive and is adopted into more households, brands can collaborate with this newer form of gaming to create unique experiences for fans. Prices falling to levels mainstream users may be interested in will of course help, with Facebook owned Oculus being one of the driving brands behind the tech. A drop in price has seen ownership for the Oculus Riff VR headset double since the beginning of 2019 (0.3% in Q1 to 0.6% in Q4).

2020 is set to be the year which could define the pathway for the next decade of gaming. With brands continually evolving and finding new ways to engage fans, and technology becoming more accessible than ever before, it’s a really exciting time to be a gamer.

To download a complimentary 2020 FUTURE FORECAST  report, click below:

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