Over the last decade, the popularity of esports has exploded across Europe and the rest of the world. However, the COVID-19 fuelled the entire market’s growth, with millions of people spending more time playing and watching video games amid lockdown.
According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, the number of esports viewers in Europe hit 92 million in 2020, a 16% jump in two years.
2 Million New Esports Enthusiasts in a Year
In 2018, there were 79 million esports viewers in Europe, revealed the Newzoo and PayPal survey. By the end of 2019, this figure rose by 9.7% and hit 86 million. The increasing trend continued in 2020, as millions of people turned to video games as their number-one at-home entertainment amid lockdown. Statistics show the European esports audience increased by 7.4% year-over-year to 92 million in 2020.
Esports enthusiasts accounted for 33 million, or one-third of Europe’s audience in 2020, a 2 million increase in a year. Occasional viewers made up the remaining 59 million, 4 million more than in 2019.
The Newzoo data showed that Europeans aged between 21 and 25 were most likely to be esports enthusiasts, with a 36% share among respondents. People aged 31-25 ranked as the second-largest group and a 35% share. Only 33% of Europeans aged 18–20 watched esports several times a month.
The survey also revealed the impact of the COVID-19 on the esports audience growth in Europe. Nearly 60% of respondents who said they spent more time watching esports claimed they would continue doing so even after the lockdown measures are lifted.
Spain and the United Kingdom had the highest share of respondents who said they would continue to watch more after lockdown, with 70% and 66% share, respectively. Finland and Norway were on the other side of the list with 34% and 25% share of people who spent more time watching esports since the pandemic.
58% of European Esports Enthusiasts Spent Money on Esports Products
The Newzoo data also showed that, across all European markets, 58% of esports enthusiasts spent money on esports-related products, compared to 37% of occasional viewers.
Analyzed by countries, esports enthusiasts in Spain were most likely to spend on esports products, with 62% of them doing so in the last year. France, Italy, and the United Kingdom followed with 60% and 58% share of respondents, respectively.
Statistics indicate almost 50% of esports enthusiasts who spent money purchased team-specific digital merchandise, including banners, skins, and other content. Around 45% of respondents said they also spent money on esports related physical inventory, while another 27% purchased premium esports content passes.