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Women and gaming: what, how and why are they playing?

Caroline Hawkings Managing Director 10/12/2019

Savanta’s latest report ‘Game On: a study of UK gaming attitudes and behaviours’ suggests that the stereotype of gamers being predominantly male is - in fact - nothing more than a myth, with women making up 50% of those who play games most days.

One in ten people believe that sexism is a problem in the gaming community."

Who are female gamers?

According to the report, the majority (61%) of female gamers are under 45 and use their smartphones (88%) to play. They most like puzzle/tile matching games (54%) and, when it comes to why they play, female gamers say it’s mainly for relaxation (39%) or entertainment (38%).

However, most female gamers wouldn’t class gaming as one of their hobbies: our data reveals that only a third of women who play most days would actually consider themselves a ‘gamer’.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any ‘committed’ gamers within the female demographic. Almost a quarter (23%) of female gamers play on a dedicated mobile gaming device and spend over £100 per year on their gaming habits.

The nitty gritty

Looking past the basic demographics, we identified four types of gamers: casual gamers, mobile specialists, mainstream gamers and gaming enthusiasts, distinguishable by their gaming habits and behaviours.

The casual gamer and the mobile specialist personas currently make up 37% of the gaming population and both are predominantly female.

Casual gamers

A typical casual gamer is a 40+ (67%) female (57%) who tends to play games on her smartphone (70%). The data set shows that more than half of casual gamers (55%) play games at least once a week, however only 6% would identify as a gamer. When asked what their favourite game genres were, those falling into the casual gamer group said their preferred genres were puzzle games(39%).

Mobile specialists

This group of gamers accounts for almost a fifth of the gaming population (17%) and almost three quarters (71%)are females. The mobile specialists game most days but almost exclusively on their smartphones (89%) and they rarely choose to play on a PC or dedicated gaming console. Similarly, to the casual gamers, their go-to gaming genres tend to be puzzle games (57%).

Women and online gaming

Although our findings show that women make up half of the gaming population, there are some gaming activities where females are not always on equal footing. One in ten (10%) people believe that sexism is a problem in the gaming community. This rises to 25% among gaming enthusiasts – those who are exposed to the gaming world the most.

Our report  further explores the dark side of gaming and the consequences this can have for both the gamers themselves as well as  advertisers.

Download it here to find out more.

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