Research reveals parents are planning to spend the festive season – and beyond – sitting down and enjoying some good old family fun with their children.
The market for table-top games is booming as ‘quality time’ becomes more precious than ever before.
This Christmas, children may well be cutting down on the time they spend with their electronic games in favour of something infinitely more precious – play time with their parents! Perhaps it’s the insecurities that Brexit has bred, or the unsettled state of our society, but it seems that a huge proportion of parents want to create opportunities to engage with their offspring – in a way that’s entertaining, relaxing and meaningful for all the family, young and old alike.
A predicted 51% increase over last year in the purchase of table-top games (which include traditional board games and action games) among parents of 4-9 year-olds may well be on the way.
The prediction has emerged from new independent research carried out this Autumn on behalf of Drumond Park, one of the UK’s largest producers of table-top games for all ages. A total of 1,000 respondents, all parents of 4-9 year-olds, answered an anonymous questionnaire online.
The research confirms that on average this year, parents have bought or are planning to buy at least three table-top games for their family to enjoy. This is on top of the six games they already own, on average. The number of new purchases is likely to reach a peak average of 3.37 for parents of six-year-olds, a massive 65% increase over 2015.
This is surely an indication that parents are looking for a return to more traditional ways of interacting with their children. One where whole families and multi-generational groups of friends can all sit down and enjoy the fun and laughter of playing games together.
Mary Wood, Marketing Director at Drumond Park, says: “We are hopeful that such a quantum leap in purchase intentions may indicate a fundamental shift in the mindset of parents. Perhaps they feel that electronic games, while very popular with their children, don’t bring the family together in the same full-on way that a rumbustious table-top game can. The entertainment and social engagement value of games is infinite, and we believe UK parents are acknowledging that in their Christmas buying list.”
Enthusiasm for table-top games may well be rooted in parents’ own experiences as children. They recall happy times when their parents joined in with them, and took a genuine interest in things their offspring loved to do.
Pressures on today’s parents leave them little spare time to be active participants in their children’s pastimes, but a table-top game offers a perfect opportunity to relax with the kids. A game doesn’t take much time to play, all family members can take part together and, while everyone’s attention is focused on the game, the sense of emotional bonding is palpable – even when there are the inevitable arguments about whose turn it is, or who has ‘bagged’ the favourite playing piece.
But the main reason parents want more table-top games than ever before is because their children just love them. In previous independent research, undertaken by Drumond Park in May of this year, 86% of 4-9-year-old boys and girls said playing table-top games is one of their favourite forms of play. For girls only, the figure is 87%, while almost 90% of 6-year-olds of both sexes rate table-top games over other forms of play.
Tellingly, three-quarters of children agreed that playing table-top games meant they could spend more time with their parents. So it’s not just the adults whose happiness quotient goes up when the family plays together.
“There’s no doubt about it… whatever difficulties our harried 21st century lives throw at us, table-top games are a perfect outlet for good old family fun” says Mary.
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Research was carried out on behalf of Drumond Park Games by Censuswide in May and October 2016. Two sets of 1,000 and 1,004 parents with children aged 4-9 years answered online questionnaires.
Information supplied by the NPD Group
The UK Toy Market (including table-top games) is the biggest in Europe, with retail sales in 2015 standing at £3.28 billion. Over the past three years combined (2013, 2014, 2015) both the total Toy market and the Games element of the Toy market have grown by fairly close percentages, i.e. 11.02% for the total Toy market and within it, 12.96% for Games.
UK sales of Children’s and Family Games increased substantially last year, up by 11.4% over 2014, reflecting the enduring popularity of board and action games. It may also indicate that parents are coming to believe that families ‘who play together, stay together’ and are often turning to table-top games in preference to screens and tablets for younger children.
The estimated total number of parents in the UK with at least one child aged 4-9 is 6,225,000 (Source: Office of National Statistics, 2016)
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