UPDATE January 9, 2018 — American consumers spent an astounding $36 billion on video games in 2017. The gaming industry has grown significantly in the past few years, in part due to the rise of mobile games, virtual reality, YouTube gaming videos, and livestream gaming platforms like Twitch and Caffeine. Games are now more accessible than ever, and can be played on mobile, PC, and console.
The rise of gaming has also been accompanied by a notable increase in female gamers. Today, marketers have the opportunity to reach women of all ages in a category originally dominated by men.
See the 11 female gamer statistics relevant to marketers today:
Female gamers are a growing consumer group interested in both games and gaming influencers. We’ve updated the top 11 female gamer statistics to track the preferences of this increasingly relevant gaming community.
Female gamers are on the rise. A study comparing U.S. computer and video game users from 2006 to 2018 found that women currently make up 45% of all U.S. gamers. In 2006, women made up only 38% of U.S. gamers.
Regardless of gender, young people play video games more than any other age group, with 30% of U.S. gamers being women between the ages of 18-35 years-old. In 2017, 49% of females under 30 reported that they play video games while 72% of males under 30 were video game players.
Interestingly, the gaming gender gap lessens with age. Among adults aged 50 and older, 27% of males report playing video games, while 30% of females in this age range report doing so.
Although the stereotypical “gamer” is often thought of as a teenage boy, adult females are a rising subgroup of the gaming community. As of 2018, adult women (18 years or older) account for 33% of U.S. gamers compared to only 17% for boys under 18. In 2016, women over 18 represented 31% of U.S. gamers, significantly more than males under 18 who represented only 18%.
The Entertainment Software Association’s 2018 report found that the average age of female video gamer players is 36 (37 in 2017) while male gamers averaged 32 years-old (35 in 2017). As independent, financially able consumers, adult female gamers may be an especially appealing target demographic for marketers.
A study investigating gaming audiences found that in a sample of more than 2,000 people watching YouTube gaming videos, 30% were female. It’s unclear whether female viewers are watching female or male YouTube gamers, or both. Nevertheless, leveraging the influence of YouTube gamers presents a viable avenue to reach female consumers.
The idea of watching others play video games may sound unexciting to some, but in the gaming world, gamers watch others for entertainment value, to increase the sense of community and inclusion, as well as to improve their own skills. 66% of female gamers claim to watch gaming content on YouTube in order to relate to other gamers.
Approximately 63% of mobile gamers are female, outweighing male mobile gamers (37%). Among females that identify as “core gamers” (those that dedicate a large amount of time to playing games), 32% are willing to pay for mobile games. In comparison, 48% of male “core gamers” are willing to pay for mobile games. The tendency of females to not pay for games may allude to their preference for puzzle games and match 3 games, which are often free on mobile.
A recent study found that females are playing mobile games more regularly than men. 60% of female mobile gamers reported playing mobile games daily, compared to only 47% of male mobile gamers. Evidently, females are particularly interested in mobile games, a platform brands can use to target this specific demographic.
Women are much more likely than men to utilize the insight of friends and family when looking for a new game. 39% of female gamers seek the advice of family or friends when looking for a new game, compared to only 27% of male gamers.
Females also accounted for 69% of gamers playing family/farm simulation games, like The Sims. Female gamers show the smallest preference for sports games, making up only 2% of people playing games within the genre.
Female gamers are an extremely popular subgroup on YouTube. A Mediakix report examining the top female gamers found that the top 10 have more than 21 million subscribers combined.
Lia Shelesh, better known as SSSniperWolf, started creating gaming videos in 2013 and maintains more than 6.2 million subscribers, more than any other female gamer on YouTube.