Mar 19, 2020

Jon Prideaux, Chief Executive Officer

The arrival of the coronavirus has seen whole cities and countries shut down with billions of people across the world now confined to their homes. Instead of spending their day to day lives in the face to face environment, consumers have had their daily activities (schooling, work, commerce and entertainment) directed towards the digital space.

This change has destabilised the global economy and had particularly shocking impacts on the travel, tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries while putting increased strain on global supply chains. For instance:

  • Hong Kong has seen a 96% drop in arrivals since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.1
  • The outbreak has cost US cruise lines nearly $750 million since January and shares of Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have dropped 60% to 70%.2
  • The International Air Transport Association has predicted that global airline revenue losses would probably top $113 billion.3

However, when people aren’t traveling, they’re in their homes. And this has caused an increase in demand for digital commerce (both digital goods and physical goods ordered from the digital domain). Amazon in the US is hiring 100,000 extra workers 4.  Consumers are having to adapt and embrace the digital ecosystem much more rapidly than anyone could have predicted. So, while Cineworld, a multi-national cinema chain with 790 sites in 10 countries including the US and UK reports that the crisis could threaten their ability to stay in business5 Boku’s data shows that subscriptions for streaming video services across a variety of countries are up 20% month on month to date.

In fact, as people spend more time at home, naturally they are more inclined to play games as well. New Users on Games sites are up 17% MTD too, with most of the rise in the last few days

It’s not the virus that causes this, it’s the Government lockdowns that confine more people to their homes.

Data for the UK prior to the lockdown shows no discernible impact, but if you compare with Continental European countries that imposed lock down earlier you can see the impact of confining people to their homes has on new user enrolment rates

In the Continental European markets, we see a sharp increase in New Users linked to the start of the lockdown

We feel lucky to be able to facilitate consumers who are confined to their homes to get some distraction from the crisis, helping them to embrace services which at this trying time, can make their lives a little more fun.

The global health crisis may have changed the way consumers can behave, but they still want and need to shop and be entertained.

[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/hong-kong-economy/article/3075269/new-monthly-low-hong-kongs-battered-tourism-sector
[2] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-costs-cruise-line-companies-tens-of-millions/
[3] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/05/business/airlines-coronavirus-iata-travel/index.html
[4] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/16/tech/amazon-shipping-coronavirus/index.html
[5] https://www.ft.com/content/ba40e3a6-6434-11ea-a6cd-df28cc3c6a68