The implications couldn’t have been clearer: women are the new face of online gamers according to a recent Forbes article “Women and Gaming.”
Girl gamers were previously thought to be socially awkward teens or introverted middle-agers, but in fact, women from various life stages and experiences are now joining the ranks of online gamers. On behalf of GameHouse®, Harris Interactive conducted a recent study to find that 64% of female online gamers are over 35 years old with an average age of 42.
The Face of Girl Gamers
In the US, older women have increasing casual game parity when compared to men of the same age groups. According to comScore, older women drive online gaming engagement among other women. To this end, gamers in the 45-54 and 55-plus groups reflect the new face of gamers. While action, adventure, and sports games are still dominated by young males, on average, women are playing casual games (puzzles, solitaire, Scrabble, for example) more than two times as men. Games like Farmville and Fashion Wars are just a few of the games that women frequent. Networked online games (games that can be played with other players) are also becoming increasingly popular among women.
What Motivates Her Game
According to “Inside the Minds of Girl Gamers,” by Business Insider, women have four primary motivations for playing online games: to detach (escape), to win (competition), to be productive (challenge), and to interact (social). The Harris Interactive study provides specific data to support the aforementioned categories: 61% of women play to relieve stress, 58% play to alleviate boredom, and 58% game to get a mental break from their lives. Despite the fact that 83% of women prefer to game alone, the same study showed that more than half of online gamers are women and that these women also are more likely to lead offline social lives than women who don’t game.
Why Brands Should Join In
“Women on the Web: How Women Are Shaping the Internet”, a white paper by comScore notes, “In the US market, women make just under half of the internet population but generate 58 percent of e-commerce dollars”. As such, retail brands have a significant opportunity to blend women’s growing interest in gaming with their propensity to shop online. Since women spend 20 percent more time on retail sites than men, they are primed for engagement and interaction to encourage sales and ongoing e-commerce relationships. Holding true to their purse power, women dominate virtually every consumer category, with outdoor/sports, consumer electronics/software, and music categories being only marginally outpaced by men.
Games provide an innovative, underutilized opportunity to interact with women by giving her an avenue to escape, compete, be challenged, and interact. According to Forrester, a technology and market research company, 84% of marketers have no plans to use games in their marketing efforts despite the fact that online games represent audiences that rival television. With contextually relevant games, brands can tune into lucrative and innovative ways to connect with consumers, and particularly, the world’s most powerful consumer, which boasts over $20 trillion in consumer spending: women.