Phuong Nguyen, the head of eBay Advertising in the UK, looks at the firm’s data and discusses festive shopping trends and the opportunities that this presents for the video game sector this Christmas...
Christmas has a unique effect on a brand’s customer base, as it’s not just gamers that are buying games, but their partners and parents, too.
On eBay UK we saw a 30 per cent increase in searches for Xbox 360s in the run up to Christmas 2012, and this was largely driven by gifting with a 35 per cent increase in 360 searches among women aged 45 to 54 years old, and a whopping 143 per cent increase among 60 to 64 year olds.
Obviously, Christmas ‘gifters’ represent a big opportunity, but with many not knowing their JRPGs from their sandbox games, brands need to tailor their marketing campaigns to target them effectively.
"Millions of gifters start their Christmas shopping without
a set idea of what they are going to buy – even as late as
December, eBay saw over a quarter of a million searches
for ‘Christmas presents’ and over 170,000 searches for
‘stocking fillers’ last year – and games is no exception.
When gifters search for generic terms like ‘consoles’,
brands have an opportunity to inspire them."
Phuong Nguyen – Head of Advertising, eBay
My top tips are:
1. Start early
Consumers are starting Christmas shopping earlier every year – with over 150,000 searches for ‘Christmas’ on eBay in the UK this May and June – so Christmas campaigns shouldn’t be left until Q4. At the same time, the growth of next day delivery means that they are also leaving it later and later so they can find that perfect gift.
This means brands have a big window of opportunity to influence purchase decisions, as long as they start early and maintain the momentum until Christmas.
2. Speak their language
Many gifters won’t necessarily know why one console or game is better than another. To appeal to the parents and partners of gamers, brands need to understand what they are looking for.
By observing what other items people are browsing, brands can deduce a lot about their level of interest in games and the motivation for the purchase. If a girl in her mid-twenties who has never bought a game before is browsing for FIFA the week before Christmas, it is likely that she is buying a gift, in which case a successful marketing campaign should serve her a different message than if she was buying for herself.
3. Inspire the undecided
Millions of gifters start their Christmas shopping without a set idea of what they are going to buy – even as late as December, eBay saw over a quarter of a million searches for ‘Christmas presents’ and over 170,000 searches for ‘stocking fillers’ last year – and games is no exception. When gifters search for generic terms like ‘consoles’, brands have an opportunity to inspire them.
There is also an opportunity for companies to cross sell add-ons like controllers as stocking fillers – things that non-gamers may not consider.
Gamers also represent a significant audience, with Q4 releases prompting many to sell old games so they can buy new. Even on Christmas Day, thousands of gamers are logging on to spend their Christmas money.
With such a fragmented audience to target and an increasingly complex purchase journey online, it’s essential that brands tailor their campaigns to the different ways that gifters and gamers are browsing. Ultimately, it’s the brands that understand the mindset of their different audiences, and remain relevant throughout the entirety of the festive period, that will earn the biggest share of wallet this Christmas.