According to "Kids and Gaming 2011," since 2009, the population growth of kids ages 2–17 increased 1.54% in the U.S., while the gaming population of that age group has grown 12.68%. This growth in kids’ gaming population is far outpacing the growth experienced by the population of 2–17 year olds in the country.
Today, 91% of kids (approximately 64 million) ages 2–17 are gaming in the U.S., an increase of 9 points when compared to 2009. While the percentage of kids gaming has grown significantly across all age groups, the fastest growth has been among kids ages 2–5, with an increase of 17 points in gaming incidence when compared to 2009. The other segments driving this growth are females and teens ages 15–17.
“Year-to-date through August 2011, kids comprised 44% of new physical software dollar sales, representing a vitally important consumer segment for the games industry,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Knowing how kids are spending their gaming time and dollars in both traditional and non-traditional outlets is key to staying relevant to this highly engaged audience.”
While gaming on most devices has grown for 2–17 year olds, platforms such as mobile devices and computers have experienced the most significant increases in gaming activity. For example, since 2009, gaming on mobile devices is up from 8% to 38%, while gaming on traditional portable gaming devices experienced more modest gains, up from 38% to 45%.
The impressive growth experienced on mobile devices has been driven in large part by the availability of new devices on the market such as tablets, iOS and Android-based smartphones, as well as the abundance of content for these devices in the form of free and paid apps.
Despite this growth in mobile apps gaming, in the past 3 months, kids and their parents spent more than five times as much on physical games (across devices) as they did on mobile gaming apps for smartphones and other app-capable devices.[Source: "Kids and Gaming 2011." The NPD Group. 11 Oct. 2011. Web. 26 Oct. 2011.]