Another survey examining our Comic Con ways is stirring discussion. This isn't entirely new, as it's a continuation of the Eventbrite surveys that have been going on since 2013. But the data does reveal some interesting stats on who today's superfan is, how many Cons they go to, what they spend and what they buy. Let's look.
- Here's one absolutely shocking fact: women like going to Cons and now make up half of attendees. Next thing you know we'll be voting and driving cars. Overall the split is 49/49, with 2% defining themselves as non-binary/other gender.
- 46% of fans go to 3 or more shows annually - slightly more men than women. So don't feel you have to be monogamous with San Diego Comic-Con (which, let's be honest, will never offer a guaranteed badge in return for your loyalty.) Look around and find other events that appeal to your interests. Superfans know each Con has a different energy and offerings, so don't think adding a 2nd or 3rd Con to your annual roster is redundant.
- Women dominate media, fantasy/sci-fi and manga/anime, while men dominate comics and gaming. But every category has a fair amount of both genders, with other/non-binary gender represented most strongly in Alt/Small Press.
- Age and gender patterns intersect. Under age 40, female fans predominate 51% to 46%. Male fans tend to be older, with over a third over 40, and tend to have a longer Con history and higher income.
- Onto cosplay. We've all heard the ridiculous complaints that fake geek girls are using up all the badges just to cosplay for attention and they're not even real fans! Another complaint: those evil women don't spend money on the floor, hurting the exhibitors. So here's what the data actually shows.
- 2/3 of women do cosplay sometimes at Cons and 30% said it was their primary or exclusive interest. (55% of men said they never cosplay.)
- "Most male and female fans spend money at comparable levels on the same kinds of stuff. When you adjust for age and household income, women actually spend slightly more and female cosplayers spend about the same as everyone else." The survey has spoken.
- But this stereotype holds true; men spend more on toys and comics while women "slightly" prefer clothes and accessories.
- The number one purchase across every demographic? Original art and prints. That surprises me.
Do you see yourself in these results? Are you Nouveau Comic Con or part of the Old Guard? I don't think any of this is terribly surprising; if you've strolled around a Con in the last year, you've probably seen these trends with your own eyes.
And they are just trends, not concrete statements on gender preferences and patterns. Plenty of attendees (like me) fly in the face of "boys like comics and girls like costumes" generalizations that might seem supported by the above. Still, it is an interesting look at who's going to Comic Con and why. Hopefully as Con life becomes increasingly recognized as the cultural juggernaut it is, we'll get more data examining our experiences and the factors driving the growing demand for attendance.