Barclays Games spend review 2021

Get in touch

Follow us on:

Over 50s and women are the UK's fastest growing gaming spenders.

Latest data from Barclays Games and Esports Team, shows how audiences have shifted after the pandemic.


Women have increased their spend on video games by 51% compared with pre-pandemic levels, the latest Barclays data reveals. 

Men are still the dominant audience when it comes to game spend, and have increased their spend by 43% since 2019. 

The UK bank's data is based on its own card information, which includes millions of customers across the UK, and covers identifiable games retailers (both digital and physical). For this article, we are comparing 2019 spend with 2021. 

The other big growth area for video games is in the over 50s category. According to the 2021 data, people aged 50 - 64 have increased their gaming spend by 59% compared with 2019. However, it's still a relatively small segment of the market, representing just 12.2% of all UK games spend in 2021. 

The 16-24 age group are still the most loyal gamers. They were over 2.5 times as likely as all customers collectively to spend in gaming in 2021.

Despite this, the other age groups have been catching up in gaming spend in 2021. Whilst gaming spend within the 16-24 age group increased by 27% vs 2019, the rest of the population saw growth over 50% collectively.

The second fastest-growing age group is the 25 - 34 year-old range (spend up 54%). This is also the second biggest age group for games spend, representing 28.7% of money spent on video games (up 0.8% over 2019). 

The biggest spenders overall remain the 35 - 49 group, which accounted for 35.1% of all games spend. This group’s spend has increased 51% compared with 2019. 

The over 65s also saw its spend increase 49%. But currently this group remains a very small part of the games market overall. 

The Barclays data also revealed some fascinating insight into video game transactions. The average games transaction is just £15.11, which is well below the price of a PC or console game. This highlights the growing importance of DLC, microtransactions and subscription services within the video games space. In fact, the largest volume of gaming transactions were between £6.00 and £6.99 -- £6.99 is the monthly cost for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold online subs services. 

The second largest fee area is between £3 and £3.99, which is a popular price point for microtransactions in video games. 

According to the Barclays data, video games is the second biggest growth industry compared with pre-pandemic levels. The only market to see slightly higher sales growth is digital content and subscription, driven by video streaming platforms. 

Of course, the various COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 resulted in a strong spike in games and digital content that year. Other markets that grew included groceries (up 22%) and gambling (up 33%). 

This Barclays data is based on card spend via identifiable games retailers from 2019, 2020 and 2021. The data does not include most mobile transactions (Google Play and App Store data is not included). Sony as a merchant is not included, as it's not possible to isolate PlayStation purchases. Microsoft Online Marketplace spend not linked to PC or Xbox is also not included. 

Barclays (including its employees, Directors and agents) accepts no responsibility and shall have no liability in contract, tort or otherwise to any person in connection with this content or the use of or reliance on any information or data set out in this content unless it expressly agrees otherwise in writing. It does not constitute an offer to sell or buy any security, investment, financial product or service and does not constitute investment, professional, legal or tax advice, or a recommendation with respect to any securities or financial instruments.

The information, statements and opinions contained in this content are of a general nature only and do not take into account your individual circumstances including any laws, policies, procedures or practices you, or your employer or businesses may have or be subject to. Although the statements of fact on this page have been obtained from and are based upon sources that Barclays believes to be reliable, Barclays does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness.

Share this page

Go back to the top of the page