Survey: Teens spend an average of $184 on video games a year

Based on its past 15 surveys, the investment firm Piper Jaffray says that the average teenager spends $184 on video games, though 2018’s average expected spend alone is $215.

The investment firm Piper Jaffray has published the findings of its latest Taking Stock With Teens survey, detailing ongoing shifts in how teenagers divide their yearly spending budget up between things like food, clothing, and video games.

This latest report, based on data gathered from 8,600 teens, says that teenagers expect to spend an average of $215 during the current calendar year. All in all, that makes up 14 percent of the average teen’s yearly spending but is a 4 percent decrease from the spring 2018 survey.

While the data can point to useful trends in how younger players divvy up their spending, it is worth keeping in mind that the company’s numbers are based on expected spend rather than a dollar-by-dollar tally of how much teenagers are actually dropping on video games in a year.

For instance, 83 percent of teens surveyed say that they either own or plan to purchase a current generation console by year-end, up 3 percent from this spring. Breaking that down, Piper Jaffray says that 66 percent of those surveyed already own a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One while an additional 17 percent plan to own one. 

The survey also has some notable stats on how many teenagers are playing mobile games. For the Fall 2018 survey, 69 percent of teens said they play games on either a mobile phone or tablet, down from 75 percent in spring 2018 and the lowest percentage the survey has reported across 12 reports.

Of those, 28 percent say they spend money on in-app purchases in mobile games, which is up 1 percent from the spring 2018 survey but about par-the-course for 2017 and 2018.

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