One of the most underserved markets in food & beverage is video gamers, of which there are nearly 3 billion worldwide. The market isn’t just huge, it’s hugely engaged. Even before the +65% increase in video game spending during the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown1, global gamers across all age groups had substantially increased their playing time and the U.S. ranked 2nd in terms of hours spent per week.2
In addition, gamers have birthed a new industry — eSports — where extraordinarily skilled and passionate players “go pro” and build careers competing not only online, but in concert halls, sports arenas and other venues3 in front of nearly 450 million global viewers.
So, why would this matter to CPG? Because of their unique eating habits and nutritional needs. As gamers among us report, while gaming requires the stamina and focus common amongst say, daily workers, it isn’t well suited for breaks in the action — especially in multiplayer scenarios or competitions. Gamers trying to complete tasks or working on teams cannot just stop to satisfy hunger and thirst, and often need to be prepared mentally and physically to perform for the duration — much like a traditional athlete.
Enter eSports nutrition. While the category is currently focused on supplements (pills, capsules, powders, gummies, etc.) and dabbling in snacks with a “created by Gamers, for Gamers” beef jerky,4 functional beverages are also emerging. One such example is Synapse, whose quarterly sales have consistently quadrupled by responding to unmet needs for a healthier, high-performance drink5 that enhances “focus, memory and energy” without stimulants (like caffeine).6
Whether developing new products or marketing existing products to gamers, we do believe treating them like athletes — with healthy, performance-driven options — is the right direction. In addition, we encourage brands to message in context — within a gamer’s world — via dedicated platforms like Twitch, virtual events via Facebook and YouTube Gaming spaces, partnerships with professional eSports entities and promotions and/or product placement within popular games.
1 “Sales of video games soar as the coronavirus leaves millions trapped in their homes”, CNBC, 4/02/20
2 “Research Report Shows How Much Time We Spend Gaming”, Forbes, 3/21/19
3 “Esports Leagues Want Gamers to Root for the Home Team”, WSJ, 2/15/20
4 “Video gaming surge shows pivot opportunity from Sports to eSports, but authenticity is key”, Nutra Ingredients, 4/06/20
5 “From e-sports to mainstream, Synapse creates new category of functional beverages”, Food Navigator, 4/22/20