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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