How Many People Own Video Game Consoles?

February 15, 2018

Video game hardware sales grew by 19% last year to reach $6.9 billion, per a recent report from the Entertainment Software Association. So how many Americans actually own video game consoles? Nielsen provides some answers.

All told, Nielsen reveals that there almost 162 million people in US TV households who own video game consoles with the ability to watch TV. That’s roughly half the US population.

Almost two-thirds of these console owners – or more than 115 million – are adults (18+), while almost one-third (29%; 46.4 million) are ages 18-34.

Among 18-34-year-old video game console owners men outnumber women by about 4 million (25.2 million and 21.2 million, respectively).

Previous data from Nielsen had demonstrated that roughly one-third of US TV households own a video game console. That figure climbed to 40% among Hispanics and Asian-Americans.

This sizable reach means that there are opportunities for advertising, too. While advertising remains a fractional portion of video game industry revenues, PwC recently estimated the market size to be $1.4 billion in 2017, set to increase to $1.9 billion in 2021. While that’s relatively small by advertising market standards, it’s still considerably larger than the cinema advertising market.

Meanwhile, Nielsen notes that the vast majority (84%) of console owners in TV households have internet-enabled consoles. Not surprisingly, that figure climbs among younger owners: 88% of 18-34-year-old console owners have an internet-enabled device.

Millennial Console Owners Prove Heavy Gamers

Video game console owners in TV households spend about a half-hour a day on average with their game consoles, per Nielsen’s report. That’s a little more than one-tenth of the total daily time they spend in front of the TV screen.

It’s a different story for 18-34-year-old men, though. Console owners fitting that description spend just over one hour a day playing video games. That’s more than one-quarter (27%) of their total time spent in front of the TV.

By contrast, female console owners ages 18-34 spend about half-an-hour per day playing video games, equivalent to 14% of their total TV screen time.

About the Data: All data above is specific to video game console owners in TV households.


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