In 2018, two-thirds (66%) of the U.S. population are gamers (aged 13 and above), up from 64% in 2017. Five years ago, this figure was 58%. The steady growth of gamers proves the medium has become a key component in mainstream entertainment. Esports, defined as competitive gaming at a professional level and in an organised format, is an influencing factor.
This inspired British marketplace OnBuy.com to illustrate an esports fan profile, to better understand the esports consumer and help businesses around the globe identify a buyer persona for the phenomenon. To achieve this, OnBuy analysed Games 360 by Nielsen.
OnBuy found the average U.S. esports fan is aged 25, male and from a household of modest income (an estimated $58.9K) who is likely to spend three hours a week pursuing esports and seven and a half hours a week playing video games.
However, as popularity grows, the esports industry is beginning to develop a more diversified and balanced fan base. For example, 25% of current U.S. esports fans are female, 15% are aged 13-17 and a further 10% are over the age of 35.
In addition, new esports enthusiasts aren’t likely to be male or millennial. In fact, 29% of fans who followed esports in the past year are not typical of the average fan, compared with fans who have followed esports for longer. This indicates those in the esports industry should keep an eye on emerging buyer personas.
Aptly, the industry has seen a bounty of new titles and experiences designed in the last year, to appeal to a deeper and broader audience, continuing a trend of games designed to reach more types of people with varying gameplay preferences, platforms, and interests.
OnBuy.com also took time to consider esports activity for U.S. fans aged 13-40. Interestingly, 66% of esports fans revealed they prefer to live stream esports events online; outnumbering any other activity.
47% will view a pre-recorded esports event online and a further 42% will opt to view an esports event on TV.
But, while 49% of fans regularly follow or watch esports content, just 16% will attend a live esports event in person and even fewer (10%) will attend a live esports event viewing party.
Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com, comments:
“Brand interest in esports is bigger than ever in 2018 and the trend looks set to continue. It is therefore crucial brands understand the esports community; a fanbase that will provide unabated support to the industry; providing they are satisfied and entertained!
Experts suggest taking a nuanced approach to esports; take each game for its own, take time to understand each individual fanbase and implement your marketing plan accordingly. Fans, particularly millennials, want an experience that is tailored to their wants and needs. If you are not authentic, they will know.”