GWS 2023: Tracking the spend

By Jon Freitag

In years past, the Great Wargaming Survey asked a question on spending. It asked survey respondents to quantify their expected spending given a range of expenditures. Since I wondered about the accuracy of these responses (my sense of accuracy in my own spending is suspect), the 2023 survey replaced this single question with two questions.

The first spending question asked if respondents tracked their hobby spending. The second question rephrased last year's spending question and changed the question from absolute to relative terms. That is: do you plan to spend more, the same, or less than last year? Spending responses in relative terms may be easier to quantify than spending in absolute terms. For me, relative expectations are easier to assess.

What did the 2023 survey show for these two new spending questions? Let's see.

Tracking Expected Spending

Figure 1 shows a high-level perspective of any differences between those who track their spending and those who do not. If we assume that those who actually track their spending have a more accurate picture than those who do not, we might expect to see variation between spending expectations.

The chart illustrates that the "No" trackers are more likely to choose the same level of spending as last year compared to the "Yes" trackers. Outside of the spending "About the same as last year" category, those who track expenditures tend to have percentages larger than the non-trackers in all other categories. Does this suggest more accuracy in the trackers' results?

Graph showing the differences in spending levels depending on whether the respondent tracks spending or not

Tracking by Attributes

If these data are broken down by select attributes (Primary Interest, Location, Age Group), do any tendencies or patterns emerge showing differences across attributes between those who track spending and those who do not? The answer is: no.

Figures 2 (Primary Interest), 3 (Location), and 4 (Age Group) all show a similar relationship between tracking and not tracking. Roughly 70% of respondents do not track hobby expenditures. For Locations, "Region-Other" is an outlier due to the small sample size.

Graph of wargamers who track spending by primary interest
Graph of who tracks spending by location
Graph of wargamers who track spending by age group

Expected Relative Spending

While the percentage of those who track expenditures remains constant across the three attributes examined, does the same relationship hold for expected spending relative to last year's spending?

Across Primary Interest groups, below, Historical wargamers expect to increase spending over last year at rates greater than their Fantasy/Sci-Fi and Mixed counterparts. Fantasy/Sci-fi gamers expect to cut back spending at a rate greater than the other two groups.

Graph of wargamers

For relative spending levels by location, respondents in the USA or Canada are much more likely to increase spending year-over-year than other global respondents. Why are North Americans not seeing similar belt tightening?

Graph of expected spend by location

Finally, there is the chart of relative spending by age group. Are any tendencies apparent here?

First, the percentage of spending "Considerably more than last year" decreases monotonically with age. Perhaps as time marches on, we all have enough figures that large expenditures are no longer needed. Either that or the prior year's spending was elevated such that cutting back offers a natural rebalancing act. For respondents age 31 and above, 2023 looks to be a leaner year on purchases than was 2022.

Graph of expected spending by respondents age group

While the percentage of respondents marking that they track expenditures is consistent at about 30%, expected spending levels vary across attributes, although most tend to see a decrease in spending compared to last year.

Do you track hobby expenditures and was your 2023 spending less, the same or more than that in 2022? Can you even remember?

1 comment

Yes I know how much I spend
Yes it’s more than a banana republics pot hole clearance fund
Yes I have a problem
No I’m not worried about it
Yes I am a wargaming butterfly


Dave Hollin

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