When it comes to gaming, calling Saudi Arabia a veritable ocean of whales is no exaggerated stereotype — and it’s time to identify who, exactly, those mysterious and wondrous big spenders are who are devouring all those games. It’s the female mobile gamer.
The perception of this country always seems to fall on males and ignore their other halves for the simple reason that there is a semi-intentional lack of information available about who these women and girls are and how they factor into consumer gaming.
Throughout January, I ran a study that targeted email lists, databases and social media. 1,979 gamers completed the survey with a controlled gender split that tallied at the end to 52 percent male and 48 percent female.
It’s worth noting that female gamers are the demographic opposites of their male peers in significant ways.
There are twice as many of them who are under 18 or 18-24 than the male groups. And while their educational prowess is on par with respect to how many hold university degrees (about one-third of both groups hold bachelor degrees), over two-thirds or 70 percent of females are either unemployed or students.
Only 10 percent say they are currently employed versus two-thirds of male. Tip these figures upside down and you get a pretty close portrait of male gamers; 66 percent of which are employed and 10 percent unemployed.
Although these demographic disparities are undeniably influenced to a great degree by a strict Islamic milieu to which Saudi is famous for, both genders are neck and neck in their obscenely high levels of frequency and duration of daily mobile gameplay. Over half (51 percent) of female gamers play several times a day and 10 percent play for at least 3 hours. There is no question that they are as committed to the getting their regular gaming fix as their XY chromosome counterparts.
What games are women in Saudi Arabia playing? Consumption patterns for female gamers in Saudi lean to casual, puzzle, and arcade mobile games over the genres of strategy, sports and racing. This is true in more or less every market and it’s the same in Saudi as well. However, there isn’t much of a perceptible difference in preference towards any of the remaining genres.
Even though the general rule that women are lighter spenders than men is also correct in Saudi, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this country is home of more women and girls who are super heavy spenders than any other market.
On a monthly basis, 20 percent spend $10-49, 9 percent spend $50-99, 2 percent spend $100-499, and a 1 percent killer whale group spend $500-1,000. This isn’t as outrageous as male spending, as they fork out up to twice these figures, but certainly outrageous enough to have gaming execs’ mouths watering.