Detailed Premium Bonds statistics

Many of our Premium Bonds customers ask us about the factors that affect the chances of winning a prize. There are all sorts of myths surrounding ERNIE – the machine that randomly generates the winning Bond numbers each month – but the truth is that every individual £1 Bond number in the draw has an equal chance of winning a prize.

The tables below aim to answer two of the most common questions that customers ask us. We will update these tables every six months.

Q. Why does it seem that customers with larger holdings of Bonds win more prizes?

The reason is that each individual £1 Bond number has the same chance of winning a prize, so the more Bond numbers you hold, the greater your chances of winning. For example, if you buy £100 of Bonds you get 100 unique Bond numbers giving you 100 chances to win each month. If you buy £1,000 of Bonds you get 1,000 chances to win each month, and so on.

Although the majority (91.6%) of our Premium Bonds customers hold under £5,000 worth of Bonds, they only hold about 5% of the total value of all eligible Bonds.

By contrast, only 1.3% of Premium Bonds customers hold the maximum £50,000 of Premium Bonds, but in total this represents almost five times as many £1 Bond numbers than those held by the 91.6% of customers with under £5,000.

The table shows the percentage of prizes won in the December 2017 draw by different sizes of holding value band. As you can see, there is a very close correlation between the percentage of prizes won and the total value of eligible Bonds held within each value band. Statistically, that is exactly what you would expect when the chances of each £1 Bond number winning a prize are equal.

Premium Bond holding value bands % of customer holdings % of eligible £1 bonds % of prizes won in December 2017 draw
Under £5k 91.6% 5.1% 5.7%
£5,000 – £9,999 1.6% 4.7% 4.7%
£10,000 – £19,999 1.9% 11.0% 11.0%
£20,000 – £29,999 1.4% 14.9% 14.9%
£30,000 – £39,999 1.3% 18.4% 18.5%
£40,000 – £49,999 0.8% 16.4% 16.2%
£50,000 1.3% 29.5% 29.0%
Total 100% 100% 100%

Data as at January 2018. Source: NS&I Data Warehouse. Percentages rounded to one decimal place.

Q. Why does it seem that newer Bonds win more prizes?

Again, the reason is that each individual £1 Bond number has the same chance of winning a prize.

Over 94% of eligible Bonds have been bought since the year 2000. So even though Premium Bonds have been on sale for over 50 years, this is why newer Bonds seem to win more frequently. It’s not that newer Bonds are ‘luckier’, it’s simply because there are a lot more of them than older Bonds.

The table shows the percentage of prizes won in the December 2017 draw by year in which the Bonds were bought. Again there is a very close correlation between the percentage of prizes won and the total value of eligible Bonds bought in each year.

Bond purchase year % of £1 Bonds held % of prizes won in December 2017 draw
Pre 2000 5.1% 5.3%
2000 0.9% 0.9%
2001 1.1% 1.1%
2002 1.1% 1.2%
2003 2.6% 2.6%
2004 1.9% 2.0%
2005 2.6% 2.7%
2006 3.4% 3.4%
2007 2.7% 2.8%
2008 3.5% 3.6%
2009 3.4% 3.5%
2010 3.4% 3.5%
2011 3.4% 3.5%
2012 3.9% 4.0%
2013 5.3% 5.5%
2014 9.4% 9.7%
2015 12.4% 12.8%
2016 15.5% 16.1%
2017 18.3% 15.7%
Total 100.0% 100.0%

Data as at January 2018. Source: NS&I Data Warehouse. Percentages rounded to one decimal place.