Grey expectations: Oldies fiercely loyal to game brands

mobileThe well-documented rise in oldies playing video games has not been fuelled by the need to keep in touch with others during lockdown or even a way to while away the hours, according to a new study which shows a desire to fly solo and stimulate the brain are the biggest drivers.

The research, conducted in May by retail innovation agency Outform, covers a representative sample of 1,000 global respondents, and delves into how consumers’ gaming habits and purchase behaviours are evolving.

It shows that half (48%) of Baby Boomers are dyed-in-the-wool brand loyalists when it comes to buying games and their add-ons. And despite fifteen months of dipping in and out of lockdowns, more than nine in ten (92%) Boomers prefer to go solo when gaming, with just 26% taking up the hobby to feel part of a community.

As gaming brands increasingly adapt to pocket-sized devices, it turns out that 94% of Gen-Z are sticking with traditional consoles like PlayStations and Xboxes – it is actually 91% of Boomers who are using smartphones and tablets to play.

And, although gaming is traditionally associated with procrastination, generations across the spectrum are dismantling this stereotype and playing for the opposite reason: brain stimulation – 74% of Boomers, 79% of Gen X and 57% of Gen Z cite this as the main purpose.

Although they prefer to play alone, Boomers have adopted strikingly similar purchase habits to their younger counterparts. More than half (57%) of Boomers and 59% of Gen Z consumers cite convenience as a reason for shopping online for gaming paraphernalia, as well as 48% and 53% respectively wanting home delivery.

But when Boomers do venture onto the high street, 31% value the in-store tech that comes with it. Gen Zs, on the other hand, prefer in-store shopping for a different reason: instant gratification; 45% want to browse this way because they can buy products immediately.

Outform EMEA managing director Simon Hathaway said: “Although many assume the need for escapism has helped gaming grow, it’s clear that – across all generations – brain stimulation is more important. The hobby can no longer be dismissed as ‘just’ a pastime.”

“While so many industries were left decimated by the pandemic, gaming is one of the few that came out relatively unscathed. But this doesn’t mean retailers can become complacent.

“Shopping habits will continue to evolve and expectations will not stop being reset with every visit and every click. Retailers must be agile, open to innovation and strive for a unified commerce strategy marrying online and in-store data, allowing retailers to offer personalised experiences based on a customer’s history, whether in-store or in their living rooms.”

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