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Is Pokémon A Good Fit For Your Business?

Posted on 8.16.2016

By John Fetto of Hitwise, a division of Connexity

To say that the release of Pokémon Go has been a runaway success is an understatement. The mobile game, which now sits atop both the iTunes and Google Play app stores, resulted a surge of interest by an estimated 10.5 million Americans during the first two weeks of the game’s American release, according to internal analysis. 

Online searches related to the game peaked on Monday July 11 at which point roughly one in every 63 online searches conducted in the United States mentioned the word “Pokémon.” Searches have since declined slightly, but Pokémon is still bigger than online searches for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders…combined! In the words of the Republican presidential nominee, that’s “youge!”

The most common focus of Pokémon searches has been figuring out how to play the game. With very little in the way of instruction or help, players are more or less on their own to figure the game out. In fact, during the week of the launch, almost 10 percent of Pokémon-related searches included “how,” “guide” or “tips.” Last weekend, searches for “server” spiked as players tried to figure out if the infrastructure behind the game had gone down, undoubtedly due to a flood of people playing the game. 

Is Pokémon a good fit for your business?

With reports of players swarming to—and spending money in—businesses near “PokéStops” or “gyms,” key geographic locations in the game, businesses are seeking out ways to ride the Pokémon wave to profit. According to a recent article, some companies are even considering paying employees to play the game with the objective of luring Pokémon to their location—and with them hordes of players.

But before marketers spend money to attract Pokémon fans, they need to understand if they’re the right fit for their business. 

According to our analysis, 47 percent of adults who searched for “Pokémon” since the U.S. launch are under the age of 35 with those ages 18 to 24 being 1.8 times more likely than average to have conducted such a search. Another 19 percent of adults searching for Pokémon are ages 35 to 44. While many of those in this age group are playing for their own enjoyment, many are also playing with their kids who aren’t yet old enough to own their own smartphone—or so we tell ourselves. 

While 54 percent of this audience are men, there are still 4.8 million female Pokémon fans, so don’t ignore these female gamers. Those seeking information about the game tend to be more educated, with 70 percent having at least some college, including a large number who are currently students. The game, which profits from players buying virtual items in the range of a dollar or two, is generally affordable to most. But Pokémon fans have deeper pockets than average with those living in households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 the most likely to be in this group. 

Beyond demographics, we also wanted to see which retailers and restaurants would be the best fit for Pokémon players. In the tables below, you’ll see those companies whose existing customers are the most likely to be interested in Pokémon. The list is essentially a guide to the businesses Pokémon should hit up first in seeking partners for their soon to launch “sponsored locations,” which McDonald’s is rumored to be considering

Companies with high concentrations of millennials and tech-savvy gamers dominate the list of retailers. For instance, consumers who visit Game Stop online are 3.6 times more likely than average to have shown a recent interest in Pokémon. Likewise, those who shop at Hot Topic are 3.2 times more likely to be among the Poké-set. Interestingly, Build-A-Bear, which appeals to a much younger audience segment, is also among the most popular and is likely a prime opportunity because of parents playing with their tweens or younger kids. 

Fast food companies, especially sandwich and burrito shops are top picks for restaurants where you’ll find Pokémon players resting their sore legs and grabbing a bite. Blimpie and Chipotle customers, for instance, are 1.9 times and 1.5 times, respectively, more likely than average to be interested in Pokémon. 

So before you invest marketing dollars in buying virtual incense or egg incubators—or before you jump on any fad, for that matter—take a minute to understand the consumers behind it and then decide if that audience makes sense for your business.

About the Author

A seasoned analyst having worked with a number of Connexity's key marketer, agency and media clients, John Fetto is responsible for converting complex data into clear and concise consumer insights that are consumable and actionable even by non-analysts. Spotting emerging consumer trends and developing rich audience profiles of influential consumer segments are two of his areas of expertise. His insights not only help marketers stay ahead of the curve, they deliver the information needed to reach the right customer through the right channel with the right message.

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