Lego, dolls and bicycles have emerged as the only “analogue” gifts left on a top 10 ranking of gifts featured on children’s Christmas wish lists, which have become even more digitally dominated under the pandemic.
Smartphones, games consoles and laptop computers are the big-ticket items children aged 4 to 14 are most likely to be saving towards this year, according to RoosterMoney, the pocket money app and debit card for children.
Its top 10 Christmas gift rankings are based on the savings goals that 40,000 app users set between July and the end of September. Parents can pay pocket money via the app, and encourage children to save it towards a target. They can also set up additional tasks, such as completing chores or homework, to encourage children to earn extra cash towards their goals.
Ahead of Christmas, Lego and smartphones top the list of items being saved up for, followed by the online video games Fortnite and Roblox. Games consoles Nintendo Switch, which retails at £279, and PlayStation are next in the pecking order. The PlayStation 5 launches this month, and will only be available to buy online. In spite of a price tag of about £449, many websites are no longer taking pre-orders as demand is so great.
Dolls were ranked seventh overall, rising to second place in the top 10 savings goals set by girls using the RoosterMoney app.
The next most saved-for items were the Xbox games console and laptop computers, with the humble bicycle ranked in tenth place.
“Since our annual pocket money index in September, digital items have moved up the pecking order and analogue items have moved down,” said Will Carmichael, chief executive of RoosterMoney.
Roblox was the most popular game among girls and Fortnite among the boys.
“There is a very big community element to these games, and that’s definitely a trend that’s being accelerated by the coronavirus,” Mr Carmichael said.
“Children could be putting their money towards saving up for more credits so they can get new ‘skins’ for their virtual avatars, or spend it on related merchandise,” he said.
The virtual currencies used on Roblox and Fortnite are called Robux and V-Bucks, which can be purchased online or as gift cards. Offline purchases include dozens of collectible toy figures, hoodies and even bed linen.
Roblox and Fortnite were the most popular with savers between the ages of 6 and 12. According to the RoosterMoney data, Lego starts to wane in popularity after the age of 10, just as smartphones, computers and consoles take over.
Mr Carmichael said that many parents using the app offered to “meet their children half way” to encourage them to save their pocket money towards the most expensive gifts.
“Parents worry — does their child really want this gift, and are they going to use it? If children are putting their own money into it, then they are much more vested,” he added.
The RoosterMoney pocket money index found that average weekly pocket money in the UK was £4.81 and that most children saved around one-third of this. The top three chores set by parents to earn money were tidying their bedroom, making the bed and doing the laundry.
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