How gamers are driving our economy

If you’re visiting this site, chances are pretty good you’re a gamer. Chances are also good that you know a lot of other gamers and are a member of some sort of gaming community, like a guild or forums. So, it’s fairly likely that you’re not going to be surprised by someone telling you that gamers tend to spend a lot of money on things like computers and other technology.

What may be surprising to you — and to a lot of business people — is just how much of an impact the gaming community has on industry and the economy. Over the last few years, Google — who makes quite a bit of money in the advertising business — has published articles encouraging businesses to take a hard look at gamers and include them in their business strategies. Most recently, Kimberly Thompson, SVP Group Client Director at Mediavest Group, wrote a piece for Google about how influential gamers can be for companies.

For decades, the world viewed gamers as kids, teenagers, young adults still living at home. This perception leads a lot of people to view gamer-related purchases as being akin to parents buying gifts for their children. While this is somewhat true — there are always going to be young gamers since we have to start somewhere — what a  lot of people, including those in business overlook is that in the past three decades, a lot of gamer kids have grown into gamer adults with incomes and buying power. And… particularly in the case of YouTubers, gamers are pretty heavy influencers when it comes to convincing people to buy products.

Using a recent study done by Google and Ipsos MediaCT, Thompson pointed out that gamers are more likely to purchase items in the tech and entertainment industries, and even cars, than the general online population. (It should be noted that this, and an earlier study we’ll reference here, focused heavily on YouTube-related gamers — either YouTubers themselves or the viewers of gaming-specific content — not surprising considering Google owns the service.)

YouTube Gamers purchase online

Admittedly, most gamers are not going to be surprised by this. Gaming is a form of entertainment and computers and other tech are needed to participate (unless you’re specifically a table-top gamer). As members of the general geek community, gamer’s interests tend to overlap with other things like movies and TV — and game companies have gotten really smart about expanding on favored IPs.

What is interesting here is the influence gamers seem to have on others’ purchasing choices. According to this same study, gamers are more likely to influence other people’s purchases due in part to the fact that they’re more likely to actually suggest or rate items. Even more interesting is that this doesn’t stop at media and electronics, but even includes things like food. In fact, YouTube gamers will often include reviews of non-game, non-tech items in their content, like TradeChat’s monthly box reviews. (As it turns out there’s more than just Loot Crate.)

I’m sure if you stop and think for about five minutes, you can think of many of your gamers friends who have recommended non-gaming items to you or others. How many people in your gaming circles own a FitBit, chatter endlessly about their favorite teas, coffees and beers or even promote JamBerry (those designs for your fingernails)?

YouTube Gamers product recommendations

83% of gamers want to tell you about their favorite foods.

If you really want your mind blown, think back and try to remember how Psy became popular in the US. The first time I heard about him was when a StarCraft II loving friend of mine linked me Gangnam Style — about six months before my non-gaming coworkers and the general media started talking about him. From what I can remember the video made the rounds among K-Pop loving StarCraft II fans to other gamers, from there to gaming related net celebs like Wil Wheaton and then it spiraled out to the rest of the world.

Now the guy is rolling in dough, signed on with an American label and doing videos with people like Snoop Dog.

This brings us back to YouTube. According to an article on Google, Gamers are among the most active and engaged users of the service — and they’re not just talking about content creators. This may not be surprising to you; after all PewDiePie is the most viewed (and richest) YouTuber in the world. In fact a report by Forbes on the top 10 highest paid YouTubers of 2015 had five people on it that were either specifically gaming YouTubers or at least did some sort of gaming related content. When these people talk about products and things they like– either on YouTube or in general conversation on social media — their viewers listen. Their viewers also engage in the conversation about these products, either backing the YouTubers’ statements, disagreeing with them or suggesting alternatives.

Due to the gaming community’s desire to share…well pretty much everything…gaming has become of of the most viewed and searched for things on YouTube’s service. Despite launching in 2009, Minecraft is still one of the most searched for things on the site. Esports are taking over the service (and doing incredibly well on Twitch as well) leaving a lot of room for sponsors to buy up advertising spots.

Most searched on YouTube

As it turns out, it’s a great place for companies to throw their advertising money. As stated in the Google/Ipsos study, gamers are more likely to purchase certain items than any other group.

If a gamer likes your product, chances are pretty high they’re going to tell other people about it. We’re not known for keeping things we think are awesome to ourselves.

It’s this sharing that allows gamers to have such a huge impact on the economy. Here you have a group of people has money they’re willing to spend on some pretty high end products of all types, and if the product is good, it’s almost guaranteed they’re going to tell their friends and followers about it and convince them to try it at least once. Conversely, if it’s bad, they’re going to make sure everyone knows.

People in business have always said that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. It looks like gamers are proving them right.

Of course, something that’s not covered in either of these studies — but certainly has in impact — is the obscene amounts of money gamers spend on events and conventions. A lot of gamer money goes to the travel and hotel industries. Then there’s the money that the more crafty gamers spend in art shops, fabric stores and the like in order to create cosplay costumes or things to sell at the conventions.

There’s a rise in gamer/geek-centric hangouts — like gaming bars and eateries too. If it sounds like a good time but doesn’t already exist, gamers are creating it; and creating jobs in the process.

While it’s not something gamers are likely to stop and consider all that often, it’s pretty interesting to realize that we have a much bigger impact on the economy than we ever imagined.


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