Did you know that almost half of the world’s gaming population is female? While video gaming has long been assumed to be made up of a mostly male audience, the female gamer has emerged as an untapped consumer. More personalized characters, improved storylines, the availability of a wider variety of games, and a decrease in the sexualization of female protagonists in games are just a few of the reasons why gaming is no longer a boys-only club. Major studios are beginning to realize this shift and are now creating games starring female leads, such as Mirror’s Edge, Catalyst, and Dishonored 2. Because of these trends, marketers are beginning to understand that connecting with more females through gaming is a tremendous, untapped market opportunity.
To appeal to the female gamer with engaging messaging, it is important that we get to know her better. Despite growing media attention on more women playing mobile and console games, there is still very little consumer research on this elusive buyer. Let’s unravel this mystery by taking a look at Quantcast’s first-party data set.
Discover the untapped female gamer market
It’s clear that female gamers can’t be ignored—just take a look at these statistics:
- 41% of US gamers were women in 2020
- 21% of US women play games almost every day
- 49% of women identified as “committed” mobile gamers (playing once or several times per day)
- $90 billion forecasted mobile consumer spending in 2021
Getting to know the female gamer
Historically, the gaming industry has focused on the male consumer; not much is known about the female gamer audience. By analyzing our first-party data set, we discovered that female gamers are strongly skewed towards Gen Z (ages 18-20), with a lower income and no college education.
By diving a little deeper into her interests and past purchase behavior, we discovered that the typical female gamer fits three key profiles:
Shifting from casual to console
While women continue to be a strong consumer of mobile games, female gamers are now starting to experiment with hardcore gaming (those games that feature long sessions due to in-depth storytelling or battles that can’t be easily paused and picked up later). In early 2020, Quantcast data indicated that while women are a strong consumer of mobile games, the largest shifts in female gaming were coming from playing games on a PC or console. There was a 5.5% demonstrated interest in content related to console gaming and 1.3% content interest increase related to PC gaming, versus a 4.2% drop in mobile gaming interest.
We also analyzed our Quantcast data by taking a closer look at women in the video game interest category, where we learned that females are breaking into the traditionally male-dominated action, role-playing game (RPG), strategy, massively multiplayer online (MMO), and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) categories, often playing games that are a combination of two or more categories.
How marketers can appeal to the female gamers
With more and more women shaping gaming culture, the time is right for marketers to meaningfully engage with this growing audience. To appeal to today’s female gamer, we offer these recommendations:
- Embrace her dual personas as she evolves from a casual gamer to a competitive gamer focused on action and strategy gaming on the console. Make sure that your messaging respects this duality and takes her seriously as a customer.
- Tailor your messaging toward the gamer girl mindset of outdoor escapist and green price-conscious shopper. Creative should specifically appeal to this mentality via tactics such as escapist messaging, eco-friendly packaging, and special promotions during the holidays.
- Nurture female gamers as potential upcoming power players. Although the Gen Z gamer may currently be on a budget, she could have a larger gaming budget in just a few years. Nurture this demographic now to create brand allegiance as she increases her purchasing power.