- 23. April 2020

Online gaming during the pandemic

Sarah Kelleher
Sarah Kelleher
Senior Corporate Marketing Manager

A look at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on consumer gaming behaviour online.

This article is part of a series of insights that reveal the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on online consumer behaviour. To be notified when new insights or data become available, please click here.

With consumers in many nations across the world confined to home to help contain the outbreak of the coronavirus there is some anticipated change in online behaviour. The gaming category is one such example where an uplift was observed in all EU5 categories. Compared with the week of January 13-19, 2020, visits went up between 19% (Germany and the UK) and 44% (Spain) in the week of April 6-12, 2020. The spike in digital gaming activity is hardly surprising, as consumers are looking for new distractions to fill their time.

Figure 1. Weekly Visits Indices for Gaming Category

Despite the pressures of home schooling and working from home, European consumers are spending considerably more time on gaming websites and apps. The increase is most notable in Spain, which showed a 44% increase in time spent gaming, followed by Italy with a 31% increase and France with a 28% increase.

At a more granular level, the gaming category is made up of two sub-categories: gaming information websites or apps and online gaming sites or apps. The former sub-category encompasses gaming news and reviews sites, and forums where avid users can learn about games and gaming strategy, share tips and tricks about specific games. Examples of such sites include gamespot.com and IGN.com. The latter sub-category includes sites or apps where users can access the actual games, playing either alone or with others. Examples include Candy Crush, The Sims, and Farmville.

The sharpest increase was in the gaming information subcategory. While visits to online gaming websites and apps increased by an average of 19% across the EU5 countries, the increase for gaming information websites and apps was considerably higher, peaking at a 94% increase in France. This suggests consumers are using their lockdown time to indulge their interest in the industry and brush up on their skills by getting tips and interacting with other enthusiasts in forums.

Figure 2. Increase in Visits to Gaming Information Sites/Apps Sub-category

Figure 3. Increase in Visits to Online Gaming Sites/Apps Sub-category

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