Pokemon GO, eSports, Spring Break: Teen and Young Adult Insights from Fuse Marketing

BURLINGTON, VT–(Marketwired – Apr 6, 2017) – Youth marketing agency Fuse explores Pokémon GO as a behavioral shift, the popularity of eSports among Millennials, and the tradition of Spring Break in this month’s Teen and Young Adult Insights.
Pokémon GO is Not a Fad
In the ever-changing landscape of pop culture, it is often compulsory for brands to discern between fads and long-term, behavioral shifts. When something as immense and sudden as the Pokémon GO craze of the summer of 2016 arrives, it’s easy to dismiss it as a fleeting mania. But now nearly a year old, it appears that Poké Balls, the Pokédex, and Combat Power are going to be around for a while.
It all started on July 6, 2016, when Pokémon GO launched. By July 13, it had 28 million “trainers” (aka daily users). As expected, after its initial explosive growth, those numbers steadily declined. But now Pokémon GO has leveled off and found its core user base. According to comScore, Pokémon GO is averaging around 5 million trainers daily. A second version was just released that includes 80 new monsters and a host of retail advertisers who make up the location-based “Pokestops.” At Pokestops, retailers make special offers while trainers hunt Pokémon characters around their businesses.
Our consumer research this month indicates that Pokémon GO is likely to continue its successful run:

40% of consumers who started playing Pokémon GO when it launched still consider themselves fans and play at least occasionally now

Pokémon GO’s success is in part due to its appeal to a broad range of ages; older Millennials now in their 30’s reference its nostalgia and often mention its original Nintendo Game Boy format, while younger Gen Z love its physical, “active” nature

Over half of the trainers we surveyed have a positive view of the sponsored Pokestops (where they are encouraged to visit), while 35% indicate they regularly visit these locations

Las Vegas Bets on eSports
Las Vegas has a Millennial problem. Now the largest spending consumer segment, Millennials have generally shown disinterest in the traditional gambling activities of Las Vegas. While the addition of hotel/casino nightclubs and swimming pool dayclubs has been successful, there has been little other innovation for young consumers in recent years.
That was until last month when “ThE Arena” opened. ThE Arena, located on the top of the 300,000-square foot Neonopolis, is the first permanent eSports arena in Las Vegas, and one of the few in the country. The venue hosts 200 people in stadium-style seating overlooking the main stage, while several hundred more can be accommodated in another area equipped with screens showing live competitions.
eSports draws millions of young fans to its online platforms and competitions at real-world venues, ranging from Madison Square Garden to the STAPLES Center. Estimates show 323 million people watched eSports in 2016, and the global audience is expected to grow to 385 million this year.
Our consumer research this month indicates that ThE Arena may be an important Millennial pilot program for Las Vegas:

65% of teens and young adults report having watched an eSports competition on TV or online

45% of Millennials say they’d be interested in watching an eSports competition live at a traditional sports venue

20% of Millennials say they’d be interested in betting on an eSports competition; to put that in perspective, according to reporting by Gallup, ESPN and others, roughly 18% of Americans bet on professional sports

A 2,000 Year History of Spring Break
March is traditionally the month when college students from across the country go on Spring Break. And while they may consider it a unique phenomenon, Spring Break has been happening — more or less — for 2,000 years.
“Spring Break” has its roots in ancient Greece with a three-day party teens called “Anthestreria.” According to The Atlantic, “For three days, people would dance, singers would perform, women would deck themselves with flowers, and Greek men would compete to see who could be the fastest to drain a cup of red wine.”
While not his intent, the “modern” Spring Break era was ushered in by Sam Ingram, swim coach at Colgate University, who brought his team to Fort Lauderdale in the 1930’s to train. Identifying a marketing opportunity, the city of Fort Lauderdale introduced an event called the “College Coaches’ Swim Forum,” which resulted in college swimmers from across the country traveling to Florida each March. By the mid-1980’s, the number of Spring Breakers in Fort Lauderdale had grown to 350,000.
This month about 55% (11 million) college students traveled over Spring Break according to Orbitz. In our research, we spoke with college students about the Spring Break they just took:

Spring Break is not an economic windfall for destination cities — only about 10% of college students spend more than $1,000 total on their Spring Break trip

Students mention “sleeping” and “relaxing” as often as “partying” when asked to describe the best part of Spring Break 2017

Fort Lauderdale and other traditional destinations like Cancun and South Padre Island are still popular, while New Orleans and Austin, TX are new additions to the top Spring Break destinations

For more Gen Z and Millennial insights or information about Fuse, visit: http://www2.fusemarketing.com/fuse
About Fuse
Fuse is a marketing agency founded in 1995 that connects brands with teens and young adults through sports, music, fashion, video gaming and other relevant cultural interests. Fuse’s services include consumer insights, brand strategy, public relations, experiential marketing, creative services, and social media. The Fuse staff, led by Partners Bill Carter, Issa Sawabini and Brett Smith, is comprised of marketing professionals and cultural experts who have worked for some of the most prominent brands and agencies in the country. For more about Fuse, check out our website or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.