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Surprising Survey Results? (February 2020)

Surprising Survey Results? (February 2020)

Summary of Metal Detecting Survey Results

Between 31st January - 3rd February 2020, professional survey firm Populus conducted an online nationally representative poll among 2,071 respondents.

The aim of the survey was to gain an insight into how the public perceive the hobby of metal detecting.

The survey results confirm why kids metal detectors are experiencing an increase in sales!

Q1. Would you ever consider trying metal detecting as a hobby?

  • We opened this short survey, asking respondents if they would ever consider trying metal detecting as a hobby. Overall, 4 in 10 respondents (43%) claimed they would either definitely consider it or may consider it.
  • Of those who would consider it, males (47%) were significantly more likely than females (40%) to consider it at all. Middle aged respondents (45-54) were the most likely age group to consider it as a hobby with 54% agreeing.
  • The C2s and DEs were the most likely segment to also consider it at as a hobby.
  • Among respondents who have children aged 18 or under, over half (54%) would consider trying metal detecting as a hobby, particularly those who had children aged under 5 years old (58%).
  • Over half (55%) of respondents wouldn’t consider trying metal detecting as a hobby. Those aged 65+ were the least likely to consider it with two thirds (66%) of people aged 65+ stating they wouldn’t consider it at all.
  • A small 1% state they already do metal detecting as a hobby.

Q2. Do you think your children would enjoy metal detecting?

  • Among respondents who have children aged 18 or under (n=553), we asked them if they think their children would enjoy metal detecting. Overall, 59% felt their children would enjoy it with females agreeing more so (66%) than males (52%). 15% claimed they were unsure if their children would like it or not.
  • Among age, region and social grade, there were no significant differences to report.

View the best kids metal detectors here

Q3. Please tell us, in as much detail as you can, your thoughts about metal detecting.

  • This question concluded the short survey and was an opportunity for respondents to write their thoughts about metal detecting into a large open text box we provided. Using the verbatim comments, we added all of these into a wordcloud template to establish themes.
  • Overall, respondents felt metal detecting could be interesting, exciting, a hobby, a way to find buried treasure but some respondents also felt it could be a waste of time and boring.

This image shows a 'word cloud' generated from the answer obtained in the survey.  The bigger the word, the more often it appeared.

metal detecting word cloud


The results of the survey suggest that metal detecting is surprisingly popular, with 43% of respondents willing to try metal detecting as a hobby and 59% of respondents believing that their children would enjoy it.


  • Arthur Greenway

    As a metal detectorist of some 35 years now this survey was pointless most people today would only look at it as a way of finding treasure for personal gain I got into metal detecting because I was interested in History you would best spend your efforts in trying to gain support amongst the museum’s and there curators as an organised group we can be there best and free tool to unearthing the past

  • Joe

    Finding somewhere to go is the big problem many landowners are not to keen on people wandering around digging holes in the fields

  • MErvyn GOrdon

    Have a detector but restricted .where can you legally use one .

  • Tony Sherwood

    It’s a fantastic hobby, out in the fresh air, keeping fit, and you never know what you’ll find,,, love it!!

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