As the number of smartphone users grows, Asia-Pacific has been the primary driver for the expansion of the global gaming industry. Established markets like China and Japan continue to flex their spending power while India and Southeast Asia have proven their impact in terms of app downloads. While it’s clear that APAC presents many opportunities, it’s crucial that both developers and advertisers recognizing the diverse gender split of mobile gamers and how it could affect the industry.
APAC’s Spending Power
Before breaking down demographics, it’s beneficial to look at the value of the entire audience in Asia-Pacific. NewZoo’s 2019 Global Games Market Report stated that the APAC region will generate 47% of global revenue totaling $72.2 billion by the end of 2019. This enormous spend shows a year-over-year growth of 7.6%.
Despite China’s licensing freeze, it remains the top market in the region and is expected to surpass the United States as the highest spending country in gaming in 2020. APAC’s high consumer spend is also powered by the rapid growth of emerging markets in India and countries all over Southeast Asia like Indonesia and the Philippines. Furthermore, mobile gaming remains the largest segment in 2019 at 45% of the games market, growing to $68.5 billion and suggesting a significant portion of APAC’s spend is by mobile gamers.
Indian Female Gamers Outplay Male Gamers
As reported earlier this week, India hit a new milestone by exceeding 5 billion total app downloads in Q2 2019. Unlimited 4G data plans and increased smartphone purchases have driven the massive growth for apps and also mobile games. Statista states the number of users is expected to amount to 176.6M by 2023.
While the raw majority of (self-identified) mobile gamers are males, studies have suggested that Indian female gamers are outplaying males. According to Mauj Mobile’s report titled Inside India’s Gamers, women spend twice as much time on mobile games than men. Additionally, 63% of the women mobile gamers play daily and 98% of them play when at home, while 25% of them play while commuting.
That’s not even considering the number of women playing mobile games who don’t consider themselves “gamers,” making the split closer to 50/50.
Southeast Asia Is the World’s Fastest-Growing Games Market
As the online population in Southeast Asia rapidly rises, so do the number of mobile gamers. Statista states that the region is expected to reach more than 250 million mobile gamers by 2021. Additionally, mobile gaming is projected to bring in $3.3 billion, over two-thirds of total gaming revenue in the area.
In NewZoo’s Mobile Games Whitebook, the market research company breaks down the demographics of the top spending countries in SEA. When it comes to mobile gamers, males are outnumbering females by a small margin, but women are catching up. In Thailand, females aged 21-35 make up 21% of mobile gamers, only slightly behind males in the same age group. Malaysia has the highest share of female paying gamers aged 10-20. The Philippines, another fast-growing market for mobile, has women making up 48% of mobile gamers.
Gender Gaps Narrow in Mature Markets
It’s no secret that China is a dominant force in the mobile gaming world. In 2018, China saw consumer spend on apps reach $26.4 billion, with 73.7% coming from mobile games. While other countries are still playing catch up, the Chinese gaming industry has recognized the purchasing power of women and has been proactive in catering to them in regards to game design, storylines, and social media advertising. A Gamma Data report said that mobile female gamers spent 26B yuan ($3.8B) in 2017, contributing more than half of total revenue.
In mature markets like Japan and South Korea, the gap between male and female mobile gamers is narrowing. NewZoo’s Insights into Asia’s Top Mobile Markets revealed that 43% and 44% in South Korea and Japan of mobile gamers are women, respectively. Japanese players are mostly comprised (45%) of full-time employees, allowing for more dispensible income available for paid games or in-app purchases. Additionally, Korean mobile gamers are older in comparison to China and Japan.
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