Thursday, September 25, 2008

Game On, Girls!

The NPD Group released a new report today that's been getting a lot of buzz, describing a recent survey into girl gamers and the play habits of girls aged 2 to 14 years. The study, entitled Girl Power: Understanding This Important Consumer Segment, focuses on "how girls ages 2 to 14 spend their time in a typical week, also delves into what they and their moms are buying for them, as well as the categories that engage them the most." Among their key findings = evidence that girls are spending more time gaming (PC and console) this year than they did in 2007, AND evidence that even older girls are spending more time playing with toys. Very cool!

The press release provides a handy break down of the various age categories covered in the report. For example:
Pre-schoolers age 2-5 are highly engaged with toys including plush/stuffed toys, dolls, fashion role-play, puzzles, and educational toys.

First Readers (age 6-8) are more inclined to play with board games, arts & crafts, and virtual world games.

For pre-teen girls age 9-12, playing with traditional toys is still the activity of choice. [...] But tweens (age 9-12) are [also] migrating to computer and video games, especially virtual world online games. Socialization is gearing up among the pre-teens, and the advent of interactive gaming really hits home with these girls who are looking for friends from the confines of their homes.

Young Teens (age 13-14) are also gamers, but many girls this age are also now listening to music on portable digital music players and talking/texting on their mobile phones. [..] Despite the natural progression away from traditional toys to games and electronics, [however] many older girls report they are spending more time this year playing with traditional toys compared to last year.

The study uncovers that traditional play patters are quite pervasive among girls. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier "Over 50 percent of girls ages 2-14 engage with dolls, plush, and arts & crafts in a given week which is a testament to the evergreen nature of these types of activities for girls."

In terms of digital and online play, many of the digital activities that seem to be the most popular among girls of all ages provide social features - i.e. social networking and virtual worlds. Kind of just confirms what we already knew, but it's also great to see that gaming and playing are both on the rise within girls' culture...it seemed for awhile there that KGOY and other factors were taking the fun out of girlhood, and I'm somewhat reassured by the thought that even young teens are putting aside more time to just play.

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