The news is in. Eighty percent of gamers eat or drink while playing games, according to market researcher Newzoo. I could have done this survey myself, as I’m sure that 80% of us eat or drink while sitting in front of a computer or using our phones.
But our broader consumption habits revealed in this survey are interesting, and companies can probably find an opportunity here with the nuances among different territories. Perhaps Electronic Arts and Activision would be better off launching a line of gamer-themed Frito-Lay chips than a retro sequel.
For instance, Western European gamers are least likely to regularly eat and drink during game sessions, with 73% regularly consuming while gaming. Asia Pacific gamers, on the other hand, chow down at their desks, with 84% of them eating or drinking while gaming. Within Asia Pacific, the markets with the highest shares of regular consumption are India (94% of gamers) and Indonesia (93%). On the other end of the spectrum, under two-thirds of gamers regularly consume in New Zealand (63% of gamers) and Singapore (65%). In North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific, more than half (55%) of gamers who consume while playing are men. Across all three regions, the group most likely to consume is male gamers ages 21 to 35.
As for women, the most prominent age group for consuming is also ages 21 to 35 in North America (87% of female gamers) and Western Europe (78% of female gamers) alike. In Asia Pacific, however, the age group of 10 to 20 has a slightly larger share.
Newzoo said it is worth noting that these gamers typically play more often and for longer, giving them more opportunity to eat and drink while gaming.
What do gamers consume while playing?
Gamers in North America and Western Europe have similar habits when it comes to regular consumption while gaming. Salty snacks (like chips and crackers) and soft drinks are popular in both markets, with soft drinks being slightly more prevalent in Western Europe and salty snacks taking the top spot in North America. (I guess that’s why we’re chubby).
The diversity of the markets within Asia Pacific led to some striking results. For example, “other drinks” (such as tea, coffee, tap water, etc.) are the most regularly consumed beverage or food in both Japan (39%) and Taiwan (51%) while playing.
Meanwhile, in China, sweet snacks (42%) are the No. 2 most regularly consumed food or drink while gaming, after salty snacks (58%). In the other markets in this region, salty snacks and soft drinks are consistently the most regularly consumed while playing games.
Women prefer salty snacks
Across the three regions, female gamers show a preference for salty snacks while gaming, while male preferences demonstrate less concrete patterns. Soft drinks are most popular among male gamers in Western Europe (42%); Salty snacks among male gamers in Asia Pacific (48%); and soft drinks and salty snacks are equally popular among male gamers in North America (49% for each).
Energy drink brands of the world, unite!
Across all three regions, the consumption behavior of different age groups is highly diverse. In North America, salty snacks are consumed most regularly among the 10 to 15 gamer age group (60%), while the 16 to 20 gamer age group is most prevalent for soft drinks (55%). In Western Europe, however, salty snacks are consumed most regularly among the 10 to 15 and 31 to 35 age groups (42% for both groups), while soft drinks are more common among gamers ages 21 to 35. In Asia Pacific, salty snacks are consumed most regularly among the 26 to 30 gamer age group (55%), while soft drinks are most commonly consumed among gamers aged 10-15 (43%).
Together, these data points emphasize just how diverse these regions are—an essential consideration for any snack/beverage company looking to expand into gaming and market to gamers of different ages, gender, and in different locations.
Gamers in Asia Pacific are more likely to regularly drink energy drinks while playing. However, Asia Pacific’s high prevalence is driven by two huge markets: China and India, where 36% and 38% of gamers regularly drink energy drinks while playing, respectively. On the other hand, just 10% of gamers in the smaller Asia Pacific markets of Taiwan and Australia consume energy drinks regularly while playing.
The 31 to 35 age group is most likely to drink energy drinks while playing in both Asia Pacific (35% of the group consumes energy drinks) and North America (29%). In Western Europe, though, slightly younger gamers (age 21-25) are most likely.
Compared to non-gamers, gamers have a more positive brand attitude toward energy drink companies—in all three regions. The difference is biggest in Western Europe, where 38% of players have a positive attitude towards Red Bull vs. just 17% of non-gamers. That means Red Bull’s years of courting gamers with advertising and gaming event sponsorships has paid off.
Western Europeans: Bring on the beer
Among gamers of the legal drinking age in these three regions, regular beer consumption was a little more common among gamers in Western Europe.
Food and beverage brands are beginning to see the value of targeting gamers—especially when it comes to resonating with hard-to-reach consumers who are less engaged with traditional media.