Who plays board games and what distinguishes them from video game players?
September 8th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Who plays board games and what distinguishes them from video game players?

YouGov Global Profiles data shows that a fifth of the global population lists playing board games or cards as one of their hobbies (19%). To better understand this audience, we look at some keep demographic and behavioral insights especially in relation to video gamers to help build an insight into where the two types of gamers overlap and where they diverge.

Gamers in this piece refer to those who play video games on a console or PC for at least an hour each week on average.

Board game enthusiasts are a slightly older cohort lot with better female representation. Just under half of those who enjoy playing board games or cards are aged between 18-34 (47%). By comparison, members of this young bracket form 57% of the gamers’ cohort. On the other hand, people aged 55 and over make up nearly twice the size of the board games cohort (18% vs 10%). 

Women are represented equitably among the board games audience (51% vs 49% men) but make up just two-fifths of the gamers’ group (39% vs 61%). 

Similarly, there are some striking behavioral and attitudinal distinguishers between the two groups. Looking at advertising preferences for example, board game players are more likely to say they like seeing real looking people in adverts (62% vs 57%). On the other hand, gamers are slightly more likely to say they enjoy watching adverts featuring their favorite celebs (46% vs 42%).

But how is interest distributed for the two types of gaming activities? The variances are sharp across regions, but gamers generally make up a bigger share of the population. Out a wide set of markets examined in this chart, Belgium is the only one where a higher share of people play board games or cards (31% vs 27%). Belgium is also the market with comfortably the highest share of board gamers, with the US at a distant second at 23% (vs 33% of gamers). 

Roughly a fifth of consumers in Sweden, Australia, Germany, Great Britain and India also say they enjoy playing board games. While video games attract higher levels of interest in each of those markets, the difference isn’t quite as sharp as it is in Saudi Arabia, where consumers are nearly four times likelier to be video gamers than board game players (14% vs 53%).

Demographically and behaviorally, board game players resemble the general population a lot better than they do the gamers. But this isn’t to say that the groups are mutually exclusive. 

Both groups of audiences show a higher level of interest for the other activity when compared to the overall population. Board game enthusiasts are 11-percentage points likelier than the general population to play video games on either PC/Console at least one hour each week (52% vs 41%). Likewise, gamers are noticeably more likely than the overall population to enjoy board games and cards, with nearly a quarter of them indicating as much (24%) compared to a fifth of the overall population (19%).

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YouGov Global Profiles is a globally consistent audience dataset with 1000+ questions across 48 markets. The data is based on continuously collected data from adults aged 16+ years in China and 18+ years in other markets. The sample sizes for YouGov Global Profiles will fluctuate over time, however the minimum sample size is always c.1000. Data from each market listed in this piece uses a nationally representative sample apart from India, which uses an urban representative samples. Learn more about Global Profiles.