British women to spend over £1 billion on video games

28 July 2017 4 min. read

Women in the UK are predicted to spend more than £1 billion on video games over the following 12 months. The huge figure will likely account for around a third of the annual spend on video games by British adults.

The video gaming industry might have taken a focus on appealing to male consumers traditionally, however women are set to account for almost a third of video game spending this year. Barclays Corporate Banking’s UK Video Gamers Trends Survey found that female gamers in Britain look set to spend £1.1 billion of the total £3.5 billion projected to be spent on video games and their accessories over the next 12 months by adults. The boost to the female gaming market is thought to be driven by the availability of a wider range of non-gender-exclusive titles, as well as substantial growth in the mobile gaming sector.

Fitting in with this proclivity for single-player mobile gaming, women were found to be a great deal more inclined treat gaming as a solitary activity than men. A thin majority of 11% of men tended to play video games socially more often, contrasting with 9% of female gamers. 87% of women preferred gaming on mobile devices to consoles or computers, with the majority of mobile games being single-player titles, compared to 77% of men.

British women to spend over £1 billion on video games

Mobile phones were revealed as the most popular gaming platform currently, with 53% of those surveyed playing new releases through their phone communication device, with the trend looking set to continue as close to a fifth of respondents said they were likely to spend more time playing through phones in the future, at 19%. Tablets meanwhile, which run many of the same titles as mobile phones, and the more traditional platform of dedicated games consoles – were the next most popular mediums on 37%. Surprisingly, only 3% of respondents currently play games direct through TV streaming, a mode of gaming which was at one time touted as the future of the industry thanks to the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime having taken the world of visual entertainment by storm.

The survey, which was conducted by Opinium, took in the opinions of over 1,200 consumers across the UK. Respondents were all people who admitted to playing video games at least once every six months. The time British adults spend gaming is also on the rise. The average length of time spent gaming by British enthusiasts currently stands at 1-3 hours a week, however nearly a third (31%) spend over 8 hours every week on the activity at 31%, a drastic rise in comparison to the 25% of five years ago.

Next level

The UK’s video games industry is set to remain Europe’s largest market and the fifth largest globally behind the US, China, Japan and South Korea next year, and is projected to be worth £5.2 billion by 2021. This growth is likely to be driven by a boom in the consumption of Virtual Reality (VR), with the number of headsets in use in Britain set to surpass 16 million in the next 5 years. According to the figures from this latest study, British gamers plan to invest heavily in their gaming hardware over the next two years, with virtual reality headsets and individual consoles, both at 15%, being the most popular areas for spending.

UK based video game companies could boost sales by promoting their ‘Made in Britain’ status. A survey of regular gamers found 15% would choose a British game over one made abroad, if they knew of its provenance, and the continued boom in independent releases has seen consultants also branching out into the industry, as they look to offer design and marketing solutions to the increasingly lucrative digital economy.

According to Sean Duffy, Head of Technology, Media & Telecoms at Barclays, the UK’s £4.3 billion gaming will become an increasingly vital contributor to the British economy in the years to come, especially thanks to the broadening of the medium to incorporate more female gamers.

“While trends in mobile and virtual reality are well publicised, female gamers have been a substantial driver of growth in the industry over recent years, opening up a part of the market that was previously overlooked,” Duffy stated. “Of all of the platforms we surveyed, mobile is forecast to see the most growth over the next 5 years. There is a big opportunity for developers to expand the female market with mobile games targeting women.”