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gaming is equally popular with both genders – so marketers need to take that into account when launching products and planning campaigns


New research from ICM Research into the profile of gamers in the UK has revealed some fascinating insights, including:

• Women are as likely as men to be into gaming (66% of men, 65% of women)
• 2 in 3 Facebook gamers are women, with 50% of them between 25 and 45
• 15% of people in the UK regularly play Facebook games like Cityville & Words with Friends – and 45% of those play every day, often for up to three hours at a time
• Under 45s of both genders tend to play games to pass the time
• Over 45s, particularly women, are more likely to play games to keep mentally fit
• Contrary to popular general perception, online gambling is least popular among older women

ICM’s online survey of 10,000 adults was supported with in-depth qualitative interviews with women over 45, a group recently identified in a government report from the National Centre for Social Research as one which has seen a surge in gambling. These interviews revealed:

• For older women, the social element of online gaming is really important – they go online to interact with current friends and to make new ones. While the games draw them in, they tend to make repeat visits to chat, socialize or interact with younger family members
• They are open to brand tie-ins and sponsored free games as long as commercial information is integral to the game and doesn’t interrupt them
• They worry about damaging their computers and prefer games they don’t have to download
• They prefer free games as they are concerned about getting carried away and spending too much
• Older women are gaming as an alternative to standard entertainment such as TV and puzzle books

Research Director Emily Hunt explained: “Our original focus was on female gamers but the data revealed some interesting new insights into the gaming community as a whole. Qualitatively we learned that there is a general desire to keep active through gaming with most people tending to prefer quick and easy games as opposed to longer, more mission-based games.”

The most significant highlights of the research include:
• Women are as likely as men to play on a console but for women this is driven by the Wii and DS or 3DS, whereas men prefer the Xbox 360, Kinect and PS3.
• Apps are driven by age not gender, being equally popular with younger men and women (23% of men, 25% of women under 45) but less so with older people with only 5% of over 45s expressing an interest.
• Facebook games are driven by both age and gender, with younger women being the most enthusiastic players (17% of young men, 26% of young women, 6% of older men, 13% of older women)
• All four main groups are equally likely to play games every day, but men under 45 are much more likely than any other group to be playing every couple of days.
• Under 45s of both gender are more likely to play games to pass the time (73% of men, 74% of women) but over 45s – particularly women – tend to play games to keep mentally fit (50% of women, 40% of men)
• While gaming to keep physically fit is driven by women, this is higher among the younger age groups (13% of young men, 11% of older men, 26% of young women, 21% of older women).

Emily Hunt added: “With the growing emphasis on social and digital media, this research has several implications for the marketing and media industries. Overall, it is clear that gaming is equally popular with both genders – so marketers need to take that into account when launching products and planning campaigns, while remaining conscious of the discrete motivations and preferences of different user groups.”

Emily Hunt at ICM Research on: 020 7845 8300

ICM Group - Clear thinking in a complex world

ICM Group is a full-service research and insights consultancy. The group is formed of ICM Research, ICM Direct and Fieldwork UK.

At ICM Research (, sector specialists conduct original research using a full range of methodologies. Supported by high quality online and telephone data collection from ICM Direct and face-to-face services from Fieldwork UK, ICM Group delivers insight that helps clients make better business decisions.

At ICM we go beyond research and insight to help our clients understand and reap benefits from their opportunities. Our people are experts in their field, bringing together skills and experience from a diverse range of business and research disciplines, to deliver clear thinking in a complex world.

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