What Factors Impacted Consumer Demand for Video Games from 2020 – 2022?

Pattern Data Science

August 29, 2022

The Factors Affecting Consumer Demand for Video Game Products

Pattern takes a closer look at what factors impacted consumer demand for video game products the most during 2020 – 2022. Specifically, we’ll look at:

  • How COVID-19 impacted consumer demand for video game consoles

  • When consumer demand is highest for video game consoles

    • How demand changed from 2020 to 2021
    • How demand changed from 2021 to 2022
  • How virtual reality has taken over the video gaming landscape

    • How demand changed from 2020 to 2021
    • How demand changed from 2021 to 2022
  • Key takeaways for gaming brands

With National Video Games Day approaching on September 12th, our team wanted to evaluate how consumer demand for video game products has changed in recent years. As we analyzed search data around some of the most popular video game products, we recognized interesting trends that gaming brands can’t afford to ignore.

How COVID-19 Impacted Consumer Demand for Video Game Consoles

One of the biggest observations from our data analysis was the obvious increase in consumer demand for video game consoles after the COVID-19 pandemic was formally declared on March 11, 2020. When looking at consumer demand for Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles, we can see a slight uptick in interest around the time the pandemic was declared:

While all video gaming consoles saw a moderate jump around the time the pandemic was declared, Nintendo Wii consoles were the most popular with a 75% increase in consumer demand. As more people were told to stay indoors, consumers craved a way to stay physically fit while also escaping the uncertain reality we all faced as a society. Nintendo Wii was the clear choice for gamers looking to cover both needs.

What is even more interesting about this data is that the pandemic was arguably the least influential factor on consumer demand when compared to things like reveal events, preorders for new gaming systems, and gaming system release dates. For example, the week of the PS5 reveal event by Sony saw a 807% jump in consumer demand for PlayStation 5 consoles. Similarly, the week prior to the Xbox Series X release date saw a 258% increase in demand for the new system.

Since Nintendo hasn’t released any new gaming systems recently, consumer demand appeared to be largely affected by seasonal sales and events. Prime Day and the week of Black Friday – Cyber Monday had the biggest impact on consumer demand for Nintendo consoles in 2020.

When Is Consumer Demand Highest for Video Game Consoles?

Using 2021 as the baseline for the “new normal”, our team can see some interesting observations for when consumer demand is the highest for specific gaming consoles. Generally, we see a seasonal uptick in demand from the first week of January until the last week of April. From there, demand steadily decreases, bottoming out between July and August. Once Fall hits in September, demand climbs back up again, surging around the last week of November and continuing to increase through December.

Again, we can see how consumer demand is impacted by things like gaming system releases, console updates, and seasonal deals. For example, when the Xbox Headset was released in March 2021, there was a 77% increase in demand week over week. Similarly, when online retailers announced a restock of PlayStation 5 consoles in March 2021, demand for the gaming system increased 183%.

How Console Demand Changed from 2020 to 2021

As pandemic worries lessened and the initial buzz around gaming system releases dwindled, we can observe a downward trend in consumer demand across PlayStation and Xbox from 2020 to 2021.

Nintendo, on the other hand, saw more consistent consumer demand throughout 2021. This is likely due to the fact that Nintendo did not release any new systems in 2020, and therefore did not experience any surges in consumer demand during that year.

How Console Demand Changed from 2021 to 2022

PlayStation and Nintendo have continued to see a downward trend in consumer demand when comparing 2022 to 2021. Aside from another restock announcement in March 2022 and Prime Day 2022, demand for PlayStation 5 has remained fairly low all year. Where Prime Day was an obvious factor for Nintendo demand in 2021, demand for Nintendo systems actually fell during Prime Day 2022:

By contrast, demand for Xbox consoles has picked up in recent months compared to this time last year. One noteworthy reason for why demand may have increased for these consoles is that the Xbox Game Pass continues to add new games to its repertoire. In anticipation of Crusader Kings 3’s addition to Xbox Game Pass, consumer demand surged by 22% (the second-largest jump following increased demand around Prime Day 2022):

Virtual Reality Has Taken Over the Video Gaming Landscape

One of the most interesting stories to emerge from our video game consumer demand data is how demand has changed around VR-based games. Our team used searches for “VR headsets” to illustrate how demand for virtual reality games has surged in recent years.

How VR Demand Changed from 2020 to 2021

During the first pandemic year, demand for VR headsets was rather volatile, seeing dramatic increases and decreases in demand throughout the year.

During the entire year in 2020, VR headset demand never climbed too much higher than a 40% increase over demand for the week prior. However, when comparing year over year demand from 2020 to 2021, we can see that consumer demand for such products has surged exponentially. Following Facebook’s rebrand to Meta in October, demand for VR headsets experienced a meteoric rise, peaking at 5,778% in December 2021:

How VR Demand Changed from 2021 to 2022

Compared to last year, demand for virtual reality headsets has remained significantly higher — particularly from January – June. Gaming retailers can likely expect an upcoming increase in interest if 2021 seasonality is any indication of how consumer demand will change:

Key Takeaways for Gaming Brands

This data dive provides essential intel for gaming brands — particularly those operating within the ecommerce space. First, video game consumers are educated shoppers who are strongly influenced by updates within their community. It’s important for gaming brands to remain up-to-date on emerging trends and preferences so they can better tailor their offerings to their target consumers. 

Secondly, brands do matter in the gaming space and the increase in interest and traffic syncs with huge product announcements and releases. Inventory, fulfillment, marketing, and customer service are essential to capitalize on these key moments in the product life cycle.

Lastly, the rise in demand for virtual reality (VR) gaming products is something brands should not ignore. Especially as Meta continues to lead the charge in shaping the metaverse, brands will need to expand their virtual reality gaming offerings to accommodate the changing landscape. 

If you’re interested in using patterns like these to your brand’s advantage, request a demo with Pattern to enhance your ecommerce strategy today. 

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 26, 2022

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.