Apr 3, 2020

Here is an update on the impact of Government social distancing measures on the demand for home entertainment services delivered by our Merchants.

The charts below typically look at new user data comparing February, when the restrictions primarily affected a few countries in Asia, and March, when the pandemic reached Europe and the US. (We acknowledge that the charts do not have a Y Axis, we’re explicitly aiming to show trends not disclose detailed user acquisition data).  Some of the charts show the number of new users accumulated through the month, others show a day of the month comparison.

Which sectors are affected?

Boku operates two business lines: an Identity business that uses phone operators to verify possession, integrity and ownership of mobile phone numbers, and a Payments business that allows people to buy digital goods and charge them to their phone bill. We’re seeing that demand for Identity services is broadly unaffected; people are still using their mobiles to do things.

For video and games, by contrast, demand has increased. It seems that if you’re confined to your home, a favoured way to kill time is watching streaming TV or playing games, especially games with a social element such as MMPORGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games).

Which countries are affected?

Looking around the world, there is a marked contrast between those countries which have implemented strict social distancing measures such as India, Malaysia and Thailand, and those which have stayed open for business with a test, track and trace strategy such as Korea and Singapore.

A similar picture appears in Europe, with the increase in Italy, Spain, Belgium and France attributable to the start of stricter lockdowns in those countries.

The increase came later in the US and UK which deployed measures later than other countries and has yet to appear Sweden or Russia which did not put strict social distancing measures in place in March.

It seems that for as long as we’re confined, when we finish work and step away from our desks, we’ll be seeking out entertainment at home in lieu of going out to pubs, clubs and restaurants.