The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading around the world for months, disrupting lives, societies and economies. The impact of the virus has changed the daily routines of billions of people and many now live a secluded lifestyle in order to protect the health and safety of themselves and others. During this time of global isolation, the popularity of home-based online and digital activities have exploded and continue to rise, especially in the realms of eCommerce and gaming.
What digital market changes are occurring and what do they mean?
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine, in terms of their effects on the gaming and online retail markets, are enormous. After all, modern populations across the world are now seeking everything online and in far greater volumes than ever before, from work and essential shopping, to primary recreation and entertainment.
Since the onset of the pandemic and global lockdown orders, video gaming has escalated by a staggering 75% in the US (as per Verizon data usage reports) and eCommerce by 25%. Indicators point to a permanent change in eCommerce in at least one major European market as a result of the pandemic. Social platform use is also up by almost a third.
Altogether, the industrial and commercial adaptations being ushered in by the pandemic represent astounding economic changes in the above-mentioned digital markets and could indicate potentially permanent shifts in the positions of internet-based/facilitated industries.
Demand for games surges during pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified gaming as a recommended activity to help people cope with isolation, helping them to stay stimulated and entertained, as well as engaged with others.
As mentioned previously, the US Verizon gaming division experienced a 75% increase in data usage during March (2020), while the gaming community's peripheral online activities, such as gaming news and chat app traffic have also significantly increased during quarantine. Simply put, games are experiencing a sharp increase in demand. Despite this however, large numbers of games are unable to roll out to eager global markets and would-be target audiences, remaining inaccessible simply due to an absence of language options.
While demand is increasing day-by-day and game companies are rising to meet the challenge, it is only those companies that are considering properly localizing their games for as many international target markets as possible that are positioned for exceptional rates of growth in 2020 and beyond.
Explosive growth in eCommerce as shoppers stuck at home
As with the gaming market, a large spike in eCommerce has partly arisen due to limitations imposed upon consumers due to the pandemic. As many are confined to their homes during quarantine, consumers are no longer able to visit brick and mortar stores as they once did, leaving online shopping as one of the few remaining avenues to purchase necessities and other items. Subsequently, online shopping traffic volume is being driven by the need for products and services that are no longer as accessible as they once were.
However, it's interesting to note that well before analysts were aware of the looming COVID-19 health and economic crisis, 2020 online commercial sales were projected to exceed US$4 trillion (according to Forbes, B2B online sales were even predicted to be twice of those projected). Most interesting of all is that sales volume is currently on track with the projections, despite the unforeseen economic impacts of the pandemic in most areas of the global economy.
Experts are not expressing much surprise at the sustained numbers, as a majority of modern shoppers in major commercial consumer nations like the United States, of all age demographics, have expressed a preference for buying online vs. in-store shopping. Despite this, many organizations across the entire eCommerce business sub-sector have not yet localized their platforms, apps and websites to help serve the surge in demand for online commercial purchasing.
As it stands, many online sellers only offer their products in a few languages, preventing most of the worldwide market from accessing necessary products and purchasing information. In these cases, shoppers are often left without a sense of sufficient understanding and are subsequently not confident enough to make a purchase. This lack of localization efforts is causing large numbers of eCommerce companies to be left out during the current period of extraordinary industry growth.
The mega-growth of eCommerce activity is anticipated to characterize the 2020 global economic performance and to potentially run through to late spring of 2021. However, after the pandemic, when normal consumer routines are restored, it is predicted that the online shopping landscape will continue to be more widely and sustainably habituated than it was prior to the global onset of the coronavirus, having been so vastly expanded during the COVID-19 quarantine period.
Industry outlook after the pandemic
Any entry into a new international market must begin with accurate localization. That means determining which languages, cultures, countries, regions and local areas are the most ideal targets for your product and localization efforts. Fortuitously, the current window of opportunity the market is experiencing has enabled companies to position websites, online ads, social pages, web marketing content, packaging and customer services for as many international target markets as possible.
For games, localizing multiplies the user base and provides the game's players in foreign markets with the same experience users enjoy in the game's original language. For eCommerce, proper localization for both foreign and domestic markets, including localized SEO, enables a company to appear in top search engine results pages (SERPs) for the market, the first essential for success online (which includes game purchases through online platforms). This helps generate maximum ROI from web ads by enabling them to appeal to a much broader international audience, increasing sales conversion rates by allowing delivery of a much more favorable customer experience for online shoppers.
Finally, it is worth noting that the coronavirus pandemic is expected by some experts to ultimately lead to a global economic recession. As a form of preparation for a potential downturn, eCommerce companies and game vendors alike should take this opportunity to implement appropriate measures to protect against avoidable revenue losses.
The Andovar solution
We provide top-quality localization solutions. Our eCommerce and game localization teams help enterprise companies around the world maximize their website, advertising and game localization ROI. Our services include localization engineering as well as voice and text localization for many industries.
The Andovar global HQ is in Singapore, with additional localization production and sales branches in India, China, Thailand, Hungary, the United States and Colombia. We are also awaiting the opening of our new engineering and training facility in Mumbai, after the end of India's national quarantine.
Please feel to get in touch with our helpful team at Andovar to speak with one of our experts about localizing your video game or eCommerce website for any international market. We're here to help you expand your services to the global target market!