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 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)