The Comic-Con International event in San Diego, Calif., is the next big trade event for gamers and comic fans. And industry companies should know that these events are increasingly drawing important attendees and generating billions of dollars in economic impact, according to a study by Eventbrite.
The global ticketing and events company released a study of 2,000 fans today exploring the demographics and spending behavior of attendees and “cosplayers,” or those that dress up like their favorite comic or game heroes at conventions and other shows.
The survey results are up for discussion during Rob Salkowitz’s (author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture) panel “The Future of Fan Culture” at 3:30 p.m. on July 12 at Comic-Com. In a statement, Salkowitz said that fandom conventions have exploded from “nerd niche to peak geek” and have an economic impact in the billions of dollars.
Salkowitz said that event planners should be aware of the trends. Notably, the fans are now equally male and female, as 48.9 percent of survey respondents were female, 48.7 percent were male, and 2.4 percent were classified as “non-binary/other.”
Women reported they were most interested in comic and genre-based media (59 percent), while men said they were most interested in comics/graphic novels (64 percent). About 50 percent of the singles at the events are men, while 47 percent are women. Single men are more likely to go to a fan event alone (29 percent) than single women (18 percent).
The majority of respondents (59 percent) said they spend between $100 and $500 at fan events they attend, not including basic costs such as tickets, food and, parking. They usually buy original art and prints (37 percent), toys, figures and collectible (28 percent), fashion merchandise and T-shirts, and collectible comics and graphic novels (both at 27 percent).
Contrary to anecdotes, however, only around 20 percent of people reported that they regularly purchase celebrity autographs at conventions. With nearly 38 percent reporting they “never buy” these items, they ranked among the least popular purchases according to the survey data.
Survey findings also revealed that 10 percent of con-goers reach into their wallets spend more than $500 at fan events. More men than women (66 percent vs. 33 percent) spend $500 or more at fan events.
Serious cosplayers are repeat attendees: 64 percent attend three or more fan events per year and 27 percent attend five or more fan events per year. When they attend, seven in 10 will spend $100 or more at the event. Age and gender are also factors; the majority of cosplayers (60 percent) are between the ages of 23 and 39 and female (65 percent).
Primary fan interests for cosplayers are unique to that group as well. The top three interests reported by cosplayers were anime/manga (29 percent), comic and genre-based media/entertainment (21 percent), and science fiction and/or fantasy (18 percent).