Dasha Kirilishina, Senior Sales Manager of esports data and customised API provider PandaScore, warns betting incumbents of their immediate challenge in launching engaging esports offerings to revitalise their sportsbook portfolios for new a new generation of customers.
The iGaming industry is going through an exciting period of transition. As the world adjusts to a new digital landscape, our sector must evolve along with it to ensure it doesn’t get left behind. With new generations of players being ushered into the market, they bring with them a myriad of new opportunities for customer engagement and product innovation.
Being able to change and adapt to the times is a crucial element of any business pursuing sustained growth. The price for not being agile and open to new ideas can be detrimental – something that former movie rental giants Blockbuster can attest to!
To ensure future success we must look at what’s coming next and how we can be best prepared for it. Looking at the demographics and recent trends, it’s clear to see esports is not just a passing trend but an exciting new vertical for sportsbooks to embrace.
The Age of Mobile
Device usage has a huge impact on the profile of customers you are likely to attract.
According to a recent report from the UK Gambling Commission, in 2020, over 50% of all online gambling was done via a smartphone. Three-quarters of 18–34-year-old online gamblers used their smartphones to gamble compared to only 14% of those aged 65 and over. This shows that the vast majority of betting activity is taking place with the younger, mobile generation.
As an operator, attempting to grow in the online space this channel of play must be your core focus
Although the PC remains the benchmark platform for the most dedicated gamers, Twitch has recently reported that up to 35% of its viewers are now watching streamed games from mobile devices. This trend can even be seen across traditional sports betting sites, with approximately 40% of bettors browsing markets and placing bets using their mobile phones.
The most popular age group of online bettors in the UK are the 30 – 44-year-olds, according to a market report by Statista. This is because they’re at the ideal intersection of still being young enough to be technologically savvy, while also having an increased amount of disposable income. Being able to cater to this group now and in the future is key to long term growth.
As a maturing industry attempting to create a sustainable future, we should be concentrating on the next batch of players that will be entering this bracket. That’s where our sector’s future revenue will come from: by developing a customer experience and product portfolio that is in line with the changing landscape. As players age and move into the 50 years old and over bracket, statistics show that their online betting levels decrease. This is why it’s imperative that the industry prepares for the future through a better understanding of the next generation.
Looking at recent market activity, there are also strong signs of what’s to come for the next generation of bettors. Rivalry is one of the biggest esports-first bookmakers in the world who recently went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. On a recent podcast their CEO, Steven Salz commented that their entire player base is under the age of 30. As these players continue to mature and obtain more disposable income they have the potential to become a primary betting audience for operators across the globe.
Not just a trend – Embrace the future
When looking at the wider picture, we at PandaScore believe that esports is the future of sportsbooks. The unrivalled growth the sector has experienced recently is far from a passing trend, even before the novel year of 2020, esports global betting market had grown at an average annual rate of 8.5% between 2016 and 2019. Now building on the pandemic push esports betting is the fastest-growing segment in sports betting with a CAGR of 52%.
Our industry must prepare for the next generation about to enter the sweet spot of iGaming demographics – the 30-44 age bracket. The betting industry needs to innovate, partner with companies endemic to esports and embrace the dynamism of gaming culture in order to capture betting’s greatest emerging market.
As the next generation of players enter the market and become the predominant demographic, the only way for operators to ensure their longevity is to adapt their sportsbook products to a new profile of players spawned out of the fast-evolving digital age.
Dasha Kirilishina, Senior Sales Manager @ PandaScore