MBNA uncovers the true cost (as well as the great stuff) of being a geek

31st May 2017

Four MBNA Geeks behind blog title

Geek. Noun: an unfashionable or socially inept person.

Not our words, you understand, but those of the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s stuff like this that created the need for a Geek Pride Day in the first place.

At the inaugural event held just over a decade ago in Spain, some 300 geeks united to form a human Pac-Man. We’d suggest this may have inadvertently reinforced a few unfortunate stereotypes, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the geek movement has never been in better health and duly celebrated (in a sensible and highly ordered way, obviously) this year’s Geek Pride Day in Sweden on May 25.

And we need geeks, we really do. They provide the glue that binds us together, the momentum that moves our society forward. Without them there’d be no smartphones, 3D movies or electric cars. The internet itself owes its existence to a geek of gargantuan greatness.

It’s also worth taking a moment to consider that in a geek-free world there’d be no one to swell the ranks of our own payment ninjas – the backroom boffins who do all the boringly good stuff behind managing your credit card. We know. Shudder.

But there’s a cost to being a geek. And we don’t just mean in the slings and arrows of dictionary definitions. So to mark this year’s Geek Pride Day, we thought it only right to reveal what makes geeks tick – to delve into their world and celebrate the sheer glory of their geekiness.

MBNA Geek next to a fact

When we started to crunch the numbers from our survey, we quickly found there are more geeks than we could ever have imagined. Amazingly, two in every five people in the UK (39% to be precise) freely admit to having been touched by geekiness in one form or another.

MBNA Geek next to a fact

But what floats their boats? And how much does it cost them to indulge their inner geek? You probably won’t be surprised at what came out as the top pastimes. Those who identified themselves as geeks spend an average of just over £380 a year on gadgets like TVs, games consoles and mobile devices – that’s more than four times the amount of an average Brit.

A further £179 is spent on video games and another £120 goes on watching sci-fi and fantasy films at the cinema – that’s about one movie a month.

The cost of collecting – whether it be coins, stamps or obscure action figures destined to forever remain trapped in their original packaging – adds up to a not inconsiderable £214. It’s an annual spend six times higher than that of the non-geeks out there. The cost of role playing and other table-top games weighs in at £89, with comic books adding another £83.

Interestingly, the vast majority (80%) of geeks say they’re likely to make a compulsive purchase, which is 30% more than the average population. But don’t be fooled into thinking this suggests a streak of recklessness previously unidentified in the geek gene. Despite enjoying a splurge, they’re more than twice as likely to budget meticulously on a regular basis.

MBNA Geek next to a fact

There’s science behind their spending though. Geeks are more likely than the general public to make purchases that double as investments. For example, a quarter pour money into rare coins and stamps, while nearly a third (30%) buy gold and jewellery so they can sit back and watch it appreciate in value.

Antiques are also popular at 29%, while more than one in five invest in rare TV and film memorabilia. In fact, of those who strongly identified with geekdom, 70% told us they’re inclined to invest in something, compared to just 37% of the general population.

So while there’s definitely a cost to being a geek, there’s clearly a lot of fun to be had too. Yes, they may enjoy the occasional splurge, but it’s spending on stuff that makes them happy – not to mention items that might just help them to build a bit of a nest egg for the future.

We hail you, geeks. We recognise and applaud your greatness – and the fact you clearly have your heads screwed on. Every May 25 we’ll salute you with a glass of something sensible to mark Geek Pride Day. Just please don’t do the human Pac-Man thing again.

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