Sales of board games in India are soaring like never before, as housebound Indians bring back ludo, carrom, business and scrabble into the living room to beat the growing boredom from the lockdown.
Big Bazaar, Snapdeal and Paytm Mall said they recorded highest-ever sales of board games after the government allowed sale non-essential items in certain markets earlier this month.
The ongoing lockdown has also seen Indians top the list for most number of downloads of apps for ludo and carrom, as per tracker App Annie.
Paytm Mall senior vice president Srinivas Mothey said families spending more time together at home has boosted demand. “With more red zones turning orange and green, the demand is set to rise further,” he said.
Hypermarket chain Big Bazaar has sold out its stock of board games in the 25-odd stores it is operating. It sold over 20,000 units of ludo and another 3,000 units of carrom boards, executives said.
A spokesperson for Amazon India said there is a surge in orders for games like chess, Smartivity, Minecraft and Lego too.
Snapdeal said the surge in demand for board games started days before the lockdown, with sales tripling in the 10 days to March 25 when the government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
In the first week of May, orders in this category exceeded the pre-lockdown surge by 2.5 times, it added.
After the government barred sales of non-essential items, a surge was noted in download of gaming apps. As per App Annie data for the period March 25 to May 3, download of game apps peaked at 197 million in the week to April 18–when the lockdown was extended– up 75% from the weekly average in Q4 of 2019. During this period, download of non-gaming apps increased by 30%.
Lexi Sydow, senior marketing insights manager at App Annie, said as consumers around the world are forced to stay inside due to social distancing and stay-at-home measures, mobile phone is the primary point of connection, entertainment, information and way to pass the time.
In India, app games like Ludo King and Carrom Pool topped the charts ahead of global favourites like Save The Girl and PUBG Mobile, as per App Annie.
Ludo King studio Gametion Technologies founder Vikash Jaiswal said the number of daily users has increased to 50 million during the lockdown from 13 million earlier. He said the figure includes those playing for the first time.
Abhishek Madhavan, vice president (growth and marketing) at online gaming platform Mobile Premier League, said there was a 55% increase in the number of daily gameplays in April over March. For its World Cricket Championship game, the numbers have doubled.
Live game streaming app Loco, by digital entertainment start-up Pocket Aces, said it has seen a surge in streamer signups by more than 50%.
Anirudh Pandita, cofounder at Pocket Aces, said there was a 20% increase in new users in March and April compared with January and February, with no additional marketing. He said users are mostly in the 15-35 years age group, male skewed and largely from tier 2 and 3 cities and even villages.
App Annie said even globally, game downloads have created new records. During the week of March 29 – April 4, over two billion games were downloaded globally up 55% as compared to Q4 2019 weekly average. During the same week, non-gaming app download was lower at over 1.7 billion up 40% from the Q4 2019 weekly average.