The video game industry has been overcome by a wave of impulse purchases fuelled primarily by low prices, creative packaging and online accessibility.
In an August survey of about 2,500 Canadian video gamers, 40 per cent told the NPD Group they had purchased a game on impulse in the past six months despite the recent recession.
The large percentage of shoppers buying a game on impulse coincides with a rise in low-cost used games, which flourished during the recessionary months to the tune of $65 million in sales.
Impulse game buyers overwhelmingly selected low price as the primary driver behind purchasing their game at a specific retailer. Impulse shoppers in particular are more cost conscious; the average price of impulse purchases was only $27.19 compared with $42.97 for planned purchases. The reduced price of used games is, therefore, increasingly attractive to gamers. In fact, one-third of gamers reported buying a used game in the past six months and only 10 per cent say they would never buy a used game.
A survey of in-store impulse shoppers shows images or descriptions on game packaging are very or extremely important to 40 per cent, while 25 per cent are swayed by in-store demonstrations of the game.
“Game packaging is the most influential form of advertising for game manufacturers and retailers,” said Matthew Tattle, Group Manager, The NPD Group. “Particularly among impulse shoppers, game packaging is considered a much stronger motivator than TV commercials, online ads or trailers."
Referrals are also a key to success for retailers looking to attract impulse shoppers, one-third of whom said they were motivated to make their last game purchase by having played the game at a friend’s house or receiving a referral from a family member or friend. In addition, 19 per cent of impulse buyers said a store clerk’s recommendation is very or extremely important to them and 21 per cent are swayed by a recommendation from another shopper in the store.
Only three per cent of reported purchases were pre-ordered
Females are more likely to buy on impulse; 46 per cent of impulse buyers are females compared to only 37 per cent of planned buyers
Sequels sell; almost 20 per cent of gamers said they were motivated to buy a game that was a sequel to one they had previously enjoyed
43 per cent of impulse buyers paid only $10 – $20 for their last game purchase
Only 15 per cent of impulse purchases were made online