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 virtual reality has taken over the video gaming landscape
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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):
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.
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:
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:
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.