Whether all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy or just very tired is debatable – but the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that play is high on the agenda for the 2.6 million Australians who buy toys and/or games in an average four-week period. Spending an average of $80 each, and contributing to a market worth more than $3.7 billion annually, this is a whole lot of playful people.

Boasting the highest number of toy-and-game shoppers in an average four-week period is EB Games, with 612,000 people making a purchase from them in this time. Given how far EB Games is ahead of even its closest rivals, it is easy to understand why the gaming retailer is such a dominant market force.

In second, third and fourth places come discount department store giants Kmart, Big W and Target. Of the three, Kmart sees the most customers purchasing toys and games in an average four weeks (412,000, comfortably ahead of Big W’s 349,000 and Target’s 297,000).

Top 8 retailers of toys and games by customer numbers per average four weeks
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=14,314.

6954 toys games chart

Electronic entertainment retailer JB Hi-Fi and specialist toy chain Toys R Us attract similar shopper numbers in an average four weeks (185,000 and 178,000 respectively), although the two stores’ customers are no doubt making very different kinds of purchases.

Playtime online
Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that among these popular toy-and-game retailers, only one is exclusively online: auction website eBay. But Roy Morgan data shows that 801,000 Australians buy toys and/or games via the internet, either from an online-only business or the e-commerce channel of a bricks-and-mortar store.

Aussies who buy toys and/or games online are bang on the national average ($80) in terms of their expenditure, resulting in online purchases accounting for just over a quarter of total dollars spent on these products per year.

Consumers who purchase games and toys via the internet are most likely to be aged 18-24 and live in shared households, although older folks (generally 45-64) from mid-life households with no kids at home show an elevated tendency to shop online for these products too.

Though it’s tempting to assume that people from this latter group are probably grandparents buying presents for their grandkids, Roy Morgan data shows that Australian grandparents are actually well below average for buying toys and games online.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
"In the Australian toy-and-game market, EB Games leads the field by a huge margin. While they do sell some traditional board games like Monopoly, as well as a variety of plush toys and action figurines, their emphasis on console and computer games – and their immense popularity — show how much this market has changed over the years.

"It is interesting to note the distinct gender skew between customers of gaming-focused stores (much more likely to be men) and those who shop at stores like Target or Big W, which also stock a more conventional range of toys and games (much more likely to be women). Curiously, Toys R Us is the only retailer featured in this finding with an evenly gender-balanced customer base!

"Obviously, gender is just one variable influencing Australian consumers’ toy-and-game purchasing decisions. With Roy Morgan Single Source, savvy brands and retailers can gain a far deeper understanding of the consumers most likely to buy their products, with insights gleaned from our powerful blend of demographic, attitudinal and behavioural data – allowing them to identify and communicate with their target market much more effectively."

Download the Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016 report