Lockdown has expanded the ranks of gamers. While this offers brands huge potential in reaching new consumers, it also means targeting them has become more challenging, according to GlobalWebIndex.
Lockdown has expanded the ranks of gamers. There are now as many gamers as there are people who watch TV. While this offers brands huge potential in reaching new consumers, it means targeting them has become more challenging, according to GlobalWebIndex.
The researcher expects the gaming industry to reach $250 billion by 2025. Between the last quarter of 2019 and the second one of 2020, gaming via any device grew by 7% points, with 87% of global internet users doing so.
To put this in perspective, gaming as an activity experienced somewhat of a downturn before Q4 2019, having fallen to 80% of internet users from 88% in Q4 2015. This quick rebound stems from activity during lockdown, as the first wave of GlobalWebIndex’s coronavirus research in March shows over 1 in 3 internet users across 13 markets playing more video games.
Traditionally, gaming was associated with young males, of which 92% aged 16-24 played games on any device in Q4 2019, compared to 85% of females in this age group. But as of Q2 2020, however, 92% of females aged 16-24 play games on any device – putting them just 3% points behind their male counterparts. At the same time, gaming on any device among 55-64 year-olds grew from 57% to 67%.
Smartphones are at the heart of this. They’ve proven crucial in attracting new audiences to gaming for some time, and the outbreak has only accelerated this. No longer requiring users to make an expensive, one-off purchase to play high-quality games, smartphones are providing budding gamers with a valid means to get into the activity. Additionally, some of the world’s most popular franchises can now be played on mobile devices, further adding to their popularity.
A major advantage is their equal appeal among male and female audiences, with 74% of male and female internet users playing games on this device. That is something consoles and PCs have struggled with since their inception, both of which are more popular among males instead (29% vs 21%).
In Europe and North America, smartphone gaming is actually slightly more prominent among females than males (typically around a 5% point lead). This follows a similar trend to APAC, where mobile gaming has been a real hit for budding female gamers.
Likewise, 45% of 55-64 year olds now play games on their smartphones, but the real growth among this audience has been on PC/laptops – up 10% points in Q4 2019 (now on 35%).
Gaming on PC/laptops has risen just 2% points since Q4 2019 on a global level, but their popularity among older age groups signals a new lease of life for these devices, having experienced a period of slow decline prior to the outbreak.