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Kids Insights: Animal Crossing among most popular titles as 8.8 million UK kids turn to video gaming during lockdown

More than 8.8 million children across the UK have turned to video gaming as the go-to hobby of the lockdown period, according to the latest report from the children’s industry analysts, Kids Insights, who has highlighted the hit Animal Crossing title as one of the most popular of current times.

Kids Insights, part of the Insights People has published the findings in its latest Trend Alert On-track report, which focuses on the global and flash trends occurring across the children’s entertainment space and industries. Amid the newest data around gaming, the outfit found that girl gamers are on the rise, with an average playtime of up to seven hours per week.

The company currently surveys more than 3,000 children every week, across four continents and nine countries, equal to more than 150,000 children a year, placing it as one of the most comprehensive market intelligence specialist in kids, tweens, and teens.

The latest reports explore how quickly children adapted their lives since lockdown started, and how this has impacted their attitudes, behaviour and consumption – all of which are becoming increasingly digital centric. It found that while kids’ favourite hobby across Europe remains football, the restrictions of not being able to play and watch football has seen a significant decrease in the number of children talking about it, with a decrease of nearly 90 per cent in Italy.

However, while conventional sports are reducing, esports are booming with kids shifting their attention and focus to watching and playing esports games. In the UK, teenagers watching esports increased by 28 per cent from 16.7 per cent in March up to 22.5 per cent, equivalent to 883k viewers in April.

According to Kids Insights, boys are more likely to be avid gamers with it being the second favourite hobby (15 per cent) in 2020, second only to football (22.3 per cent), while overall, quarantine has driven more children to take up gaming – with younger girl teens (13-15) increasing their video game playtime by 28 per cent in the UK (38 per cent in Spain) from March to April alone.

The majority of esports viewers continues to be boys, however, the number of girls watching increased by a third over the quarter, estimating around 40,000 more girls who are watching esports now.

Of the most popular games being played, it is Nintendo’s Animal Crossing – a social ‘open-world’ game and the fifth instalment of the Animal Crossing series – that has proffered some key results. The title has performed impressively in the data and has quickly become the third favourite game on a console with teen girls in France, fourth in Germany, sixth in the UK, and eighth in Spain.

Jonathan Watson, CPO Kids Insights, said: “Over the last two years we have spoken about how the next generation of kids don’t expect to passively consume content, they want to co-create, build and develop the content to get much more personalised experiences and reflects in our latest Trend Alert Reports.

“Some of the most popular games to take this approach over the last two years include Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft. Based on our data it looks like Animal Crossing could be about to join that coveted list

“The fifth instalment of Animal Crossing is currently breaking through due to its unique customisation, giving kids a platform to be creative and play in an open world environment which appeals to gamers looking for relaxed and social gameplay.

“As a result, agile brands can utilise these new platforms to increase brand awareness and engage with their audiences.”

Kids Insights believes that this innovation will go on to  have a big impact on retail, licencing, and merchandise in terms of collaborating with games. Its data indicates that 17.2 per cent of kids who named Animal Crossing as their favourite game also purchase clothes relating to their favourite video games.

One of the game’s key features is being able to customise clothes, as well as acquire branded clothes in the game.

This has been replicated through Nintendo stores in Tokyo, Japan with the production of merchandise, and replicating the creativity of the game with furniture for your own house inspired by the game as well as clothing and decorative items.

Kids Insights continues to track this and thousands of other properties daily in their real-time data portal. To get complimentary access to the demo version of the award-winning portal,  visit: kidsinsights.com/portaldemo

Kids Insights, part of The Insights People, is the global leader in kids’ market intelligence. The company currently surveys more than 3,000 children every week, across 4 continents and 9 countries, or more than 150,000 children a year, and has gained a reputation as the most comprehensive and dynamic market intelligence specialist in kids, tweens and teens; and whose market intelligence is used by companies such as the BBC, F1, Kraft, Pokémon, SEGA, Turner and Warner Bros.

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