How Many Adults Play Board Games?

How Many Adults Play Board Games?

It is a fast-paced world on a rolling wheeler headed to places where people are driven by isolation, loneliness and, sometimes, depression, because it is the whole new life and reality of adulthood.

This might be just as problematic as it sounds but the narratives are not as simplistic as they sound. What people have continued to do is to find ways to close gaps that can starve them of pure fun and relieve them of the emotional toll that comes with growing other.

The adult play has been a useful substitute for fun-deprived times that affect healthy self-life, better social life and relationships with partners, family, friends and co-workers.

That play time has been devoted to engaging in several games including a board game or two. Since board games are fast becoming a rejuvenated, popular fun exercise, it may be of interest to know how many adults really play the game and what is the percentage compared to the board game market surge and boom.

How Many Adults Play Board Games?
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It might be somewhat difficult to estimate, in the right numbers, the number of adults who play one board game or another. However, we can get an idea by looking at how the board game market is valued in the past few years.

In 2018 alone, the market size was estimated to be about $11.95 billion for both playing cards and board games. The market’s evaluation for boardgames alone accounted for about 67.0% of the 2018 revenue.

Grand View Research reported that factors such as increased engagement in leisure activities, choosing to stay off digital screens, and a prioritization of face-to-face interactions boosted growth for board games.

Those numbers presuppose that about $8.0 billion was spent on board games. The higher percentage of the spending power in an economy is invested in adults, and at an average cost of $50 per game set, over 160 million copies of board games were bought that year alone.

Global board games market
(Image Credit: Grandviewresearch.com)

The market size is also estimated to grow by $5.81 billion between 2020 and 2024, bear in mind that this number pegged analyses at certain geographies to the exclusion of some continents.

It is difficult to determine individual investments in these numbers, considering that there are other factors that shape the reviews and projection of the market’s competitive landscape.

It is clear that the product, the distribution channels, and also critical geographies play a lot in the overall estimation of the market.

U.S. playing cards & board games market
(Image Credit: Grandviewresearch.com)

What is clear is that, with a spending power of over $8.0 billion over a potential $160 million copies worth of boardgames sold, an average medium of adults buying board games can’t be less than 8-10 million people.

These calculations are only possible conjectures, but it does imply that the followership of board games has soared among users, both adults and kids alike. But in this case, adults most especially.

The resurgence in the approval of board games among people, no less the adults, also points to the benefits of the game to older players.

Adulthood comes in installments, and whatever stage of development anyone is can be a wider indication of the value as complementary as it is to the popularity of board games in recent years. 

In addition, there is an important window to view this issue, especially about what board game you will find popular with those in between 18-29 years, for example, or those between 30-49 years, or 50-69 years, and many older adults considered as senior citizens.

Certainly, the choice of board game is more defined by peculiar interests than they really are about the stage of adulthood. The other critical consideration is the issue of constancy of playing.

Do you determine the popularity and playing of the game by how often they play or if they play sparingly or never at all?

For instance, about four years back, Aytm conducted a Target Market’s latest survey for respondents from  years 18-65 + about how often they play board games. They had both male and female interviewees of all ethnicity and race, education and employment status, career, marital/parental status, and all locations. 

There were about 400 respondents in all, and even at that number, it is still hard to determine if that is a statistically reliable one.

On the question asked, 9% said that, at least once a week, they play board games. 17% of the respondents said they play board games once per month, at the least count, and about 24% of the same number said they play board games at least once every year.

That’s about 50% of adults who make a commitment to play board games every year.

In the outstanding 50%, about 32% of respondents said they have rarely ever played any board game, meaning that it is not something they have actively done over the years.

In the same vein, the remaining 18% of that number said they have never played board games.

If this sample size were to be proportionally spread across every adult population, the safe estimate is that 50% of adults engage in board games actively in a year at different levels of engagement and preference. 

That data, however, is from 2015. New market trends suggest that growth is now on the upward trend, and this clearly demonstrates how board games have enjoyed tremendous patronage in the last five years.

How Many Adults Play Board Games?
Photo by Arthur Osipyan on Unsplash

Going by the same token, the percentage in consonance with the percentage growth in market size value should put the adult patronage of the board games currently to about a 10% increase on the estimated 50% patronage from 5 years ago.

The sheer growth and popularity are attributive to several factors, one of which is the incorporation of the digitized models for the games.

The internet has positioned itself in a way that makes it easier for people to access and buy board games. You can find out about a board game just with a click of a button.

This captures, quite beautifully, the maxim that games are typically a reflection of the times that give rise to them. Perhaps one of the ways the board game continues to be relevant is its ability to mutate and be useful to generations that it serves.

There are also game conventions recording high attendances unlike before and this is being capitalized upon hugely. This is supported by the market competitors outbidding themselves with introductions and innovations of strategic products.

These, and many other factors, have spiked the popularity of board games in recent times. There are other useful reasons why adults play boardgames, though. 

Why Adults Might Choose To Play Board Games

1. It can be fun and reduces stress.

That’s a motivation for playing any game. No one wants to sit through a boring, laborious exercise that offers no immediate value if it is not fun.

Playing board games can cause you to be happy. Such fun-filled exercise triggers the release of happy hormones called endorphins.

Endorphins are chemicals produced in the body that naturally stimulate an excitement that also activates the “Feel-good” human moments. This can easily improve both the mind function triggering conscious and unconscious possibilities that leave a person feeling content, cheerful, and kind-hearted.

A side effect of this is that laughter is engendered in such moments. Laughter cannot be overemphasized and how vital it is in creating enjoyable experiences that are both teachable and increase creativity. It also plays into stress relieving.

People say how, as a child, everyone looks forward to being and adult, and when as an adult we are all crave to be a child again. Such nostalgia is mostly predicated upon the compounding stress environment you are stuck in as an adult and are happy to relieve through a relaxing board game. 

2. Some board games prioritize skills useful to adults

One of the things about growing up is that you become concerned about grown up things.

Board games help you prioritize skills that help you navigate adulthood much better.

For instance, in the graph shared above about board game activities in the market in 2018, Monopoly was the board game with the largest market share, capped at over 29.8% of the total board game sales.

Monopoly Ultimate Banking Board Game

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Aside the recreational and entertainment value, Monopoly helps to teach valuable lessons like planning, financial prudence, having patience, amongst others.

Money is a big turner in any sport, activity, or engagement, and adults will hop on the opportunity to learn discipline that reiterates its importance, either in making or keeping.

Much more, it is a game with better value motivation. Substantial growth was recorded for strategy games (a strategy game is simply one which is bordered on developing a strategy), too.

Chess, for example, is expected to witness a substantial growth in the projected years of market value, even onto 2025. 

3. It increases brain function

Playing board games is a helpful exercise for the human brain. Generally, it stimulates areas in the brain that are responsible for memory formation and spinning complex thought in everyone. This assists in the practice of essential cognitive skills like decision making and problem solving.

Not only so, board games for adults can also prove to be beneficial, especially to older adults whose constant playing of the game can help reduce the potential risk of developing Alzheimer.

Alzheimer typically causes brain cells to degenerate over time and older adults are often susceptible to it. However, the risk of contract is low because playing their favorite board game helps them to keep their minds sharp.

The sharpness of mind is not only for adults, it is good for children’s mental growth, too. Cognitive awareness is one of the effective ways to set a kid on an intelligent course in life. 

4. It eliminates the challenge of loneliness

Board games are not like games of smartphones. Most board games, if not all, are not designed to be played alone. To effectively enjoy it, therefore, you are pushed to keep a company.

That has its implication on improving the socialization prospects of adults. You can talk over games, but delightfully connect over shared and different tastes on a wide range of subjects and tastes.

If it is with family, connections are strengthened. If it is with random players, you can develop new relationships and build perfect blocks for a possible thriving friendship.

In addition, there are many boardgames that are central to learning teamwork. Learning to work with an opponent, irrespective of the transient competition, over agreed principles of a chosen game is a teachable experience on working together to fulfill a goal. That does improve collaborative or interpersonal skills, too. 

For older adults, life becomes more challenging on that account. You have more time on your hands, but less people around to spend it with. That’s why adult centers or pubs or local cafes that provide the environment for interaction is a big plus for adults who play the game.

More so, a home invitation to play is also not a distant possibility. Taking a walk to a nearby game center can be a perfect, useful exercise with tremendous health implication for an older adult.

The flip side for those who choose to stay indoors is that their friendships can sustain moments over games without passing out time in awkward silences for those that are the rather shy and timid type.

Scrabble Game

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The inferences made in this article are basically linked to market figures showing increased growth in board games. Estimations were largely given to drive the point of the widespread popularity of the games among adults.

There is a factor that is tamely referenced in casual conversations with older adults and popular reviews online. There is the tyranny of nostalgia that somewhat lays hold on them which they can’t often really explain. It is not a loud reality, but it is one, nonetheless.

There is often that compulsive need to relive an experience from the past to cure an attraction, attention, or attachment to an activity, and in this case, certain games, that has made adults resist the urge to do away with staying off their favorite board game.

It is a tiny factor, a psychological one, but less articulated. So, you see many adults attached to one board game or the other because they represent part of their growing years and they are eager to pass the touch to their children during family time and other means.

Besides that, the sum argument is that adults continue to find board games worth having, whether it is an easy to learn party game, family game, card game, cooperative game, or just a regular fun game.

Because of this, many have still not reviewed downward their general, wide-spread interest in them.

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