retail trends: the rise of gaming in Australia
It seems the world will never tire of PLAY. Before you say it - no, this trend isn’t limited to children. Case in point: Candy Crush. Enough said.
Gamification is a hot topic for businesses looking to be innovative and we’re also seeing a surge in Australian consumers’ love for gaming products - particularly retro comebacks and emerging digital platforms.
We uncover the latest Australian game trends, as well as thought starters to help the retail industry get on the right side of this wave.
Australia is game.
On its 1st birthday, Amazon Australia revealed that "Gaming' took the top spot of their 2018 Consumer Report which reviewed major shopping trends and top selling items.
Although relatively new to the Australian market, this finding says a lot, as the local range has already grown to nearly 100 million products across 29 categories - reaching almost 10,000 customers.
YouTube also had its biggest year for gaming in 2018:
Gen Zers are driving the growth of game-focused platforms and eSports as we move through 2019, and gaming “influencers” are earning big bucks as young people become increasingly interested in monetising their personal brands.
A return to retro.
There has been a surge in demand for retro consoles like the miniature version of Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic Mini consoles. The upcoming release of the PlayStation Classic also signals that this trend will continue.
Demand isn’t just limited to technology, but all the paraphernalia surrounding it. Consumers are going mad for retro games, toys, clothes and accessories for Mario Cart, Monopoly, Casio and LEGO, amongst others.
To illustrate this point, Exhibit A: last week it was announced that Sydney is getting its first LEGO store - a major flagship store which is promised to provide an immersive retail experience with a focus on interactive and innovative brick experiences.
Attending this store will involve so much more than simply buying a product; it will be a PLAYful, memorable, emotionally engaging and a socially interactive experience. This kind of innovation is what will help retailers stand out and connect with consumers this year, and beyond.
PLAYing with this trend.
Gamification is popular in marketing and other industries, but less so in the Australian retail environment. Coles’ Little Shop campaign for plastic collectables and McDonalds Monopoly prizes are examples of some brands dipping their toe in the gamification water, but the industry could be doing more.
One good example comes from Mattel and Cobs Popcorn who partnered for the release of 13 limited-edition Uno cards. Specially marked packs across Australia included one of these "special" cards including a "popcorn card", a "deflection card" and a "draw eight wildcard".
This partnership appealed to Uno enthusiasts and meant that their snack of choice during a game would be Cobs popcorn.
So, in a time where bricks and mortar stores fear replacement by online competition, why not embrace this tactic?
Key considerations when adding gamification to your retail strategy.
The top questions you should ask (and answer!) are:
- Are you enhancing the customer’s experience or distracting from it?
- Are you offering a meaningful reward that won’t leave consumers feeling conned?
- Have you embedded a way of personalising or tailoring your offering to different demographics?
- Should you make the gamification optional for people to participate in, so you don’t create hurdles and frustrations for certain consumers?
- What will work best for your brand: physical games or mobile apps/platforms?
You could experiment with contests, giveaways, loyalty/reward programs, quizzes, physical games, mobile games, augmented reality, VR, and more to drive loyalty, awareness (great PR opportunities!), engagement and sales this year.
Over to you.
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