The increase is being driven by older gamers.
Gaming was one of the entertainment mediums that naturally saw an increase in use during the pandemic. Although people are no longer confined to their homes as previous lockdowns have been lifted, video games continue to occupy people’s time more than ever before.
According to the ‘2021 Evolution of Entertainment’ report from market research firm NPD Group, there was a notable increase in time spent playing games from 2019 to 2020. The average hours played per week in the US rose from 12.7 to 14.8.
That growth is understandable given that most of the population was confined to their homes because of the pandemic. What’s interesting, though, is that the latter figure didn’t remain an anomaly; during 2021, it’s actually increased even further to 16.5 hours per week.
One of the demographics singled out for the aforementioned increase isn’t the coveted 18-34 market, but rather a more mature crowd — US gamers aged 45-64 have been putting the hours in.
“In 2019, 65% of consumers in this age group played games for approximately 9 hours per week. This jumped considerably in 2020 to 69% playing for approximately 12 hours per week, and 75% this year playing for approximately 16 hours per week,” NPD revealed.
It’s not just the entertainment aspect that’s keeping older gamers engaged. NPD pointed out how gaming allowed them to remain connected with family and friends as well.
“And these gamers have continued to play more than other age groups,” said Mat Piscatella, an analyst for the research firm. “Despite an overall decline in the percentage of folks that play games in the market, the time 45–64-year-old gamers spent playing continued to increase. Clearly, gaming is not a segment relegated to kids and teens; it is a segment that is appealing to gamers of all ages.”
As for the decline Piscatella alluded to, NPD disclosed that the total number of Americans playing video games in 2021 decreased to 76 percent from 79 percent in 2020. However, that’s still ahead of the 73 percent figure in 2019.
The amount of money spent on video games in the US, meanwhile, increased 35 percent over the six months ended July 2021. Another survey from 2020 showed how during the two-and-a-half-month lockdown at the height of the pandemic, adults spent 110 hours on gaming.