The NPD Group has published a report that confirms and adds detail to a view that many have held for some time: non-video game toys are losing the battle for our children’s time and attention.
This is particularly evident with older boys from ages 9 to 12 – they show a marked tendency to move away from traditional toys to playing video games. Girls seem to spend about the same time on toys and video games – but as they get older, they tend to find interests away from video games.
According to the report, the average time children among the ages of 5 to 12 spend playing video games is 4.2 hours per week, with one-third (32 percent) of boys and only 10 percent of girls playing more than six hours per week. Nearly half of the children in the study began playing video games between the ages of 4 and 5, with 20 percent beginning at age 3 or younger.
“Video games demand the attention of toy manufacturers who want to understand their implications to play time with traditional toys,” said Michael Redmond, senior industry analyst, The NPD Group. “For toy manufacturers, determining how to leverage the ‘power’ of video games in order to take advantage of their popularity through different marketing tactics is essential. By researching which types of video games are most popular among children, toy manufacturers can discover new licensing opportunities.”
Categories that are suffering are ones that previously had a very strong grip on the boys’ market – action figures, building toys, puzzles and vehicles. This has been demonstrated by poor sales by companies specialising in toys these areas, with the Lego Company being a high profile victim.
Indeed, my own Lego collection has been sadly neglected since I picked up Eve, though I might dust some off later. To make a Minmatar Tempest, obviously.