PayPal and Newzoo have produced the European esports report – high engagement and even higher potential which examines the European esports ecosystem. The research was conducted in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Norway, Finland, and Sweden, examining topics that included esports viewing behaviour, spending habits, barriers to online payments, the impact of COVID-19, and the increasing role of women as consumers in esports.

The main headlines from the European esports report – high engagement and even higher potential are:

  1. The European esports audience will grow to 92 million by the end of 2020 up 7.4%
  2. Esports Enthusiasts (people who watch professional esports content more than once a month, in the last 12 months) will account for 33 million of Europe’s audience, with Occasional Viewers (people who watch professional esports content less than once a month, in the last 12 months) making up the remaining 59 million
  3. The global esports market is on track for explosive growth. It will generate $973.9m in 2020, growing to $1.6 billion by 2023. Revenues in Europe are on track for similar growth
  4. Esports Enthusiasts are not as young as you might think. Only 33% of esports viewers aged 18-20 watched esports several times a month. People aged 21-25 were most likely to be Esports Enthusiasts
  5. 21% of 18-20-year-olds are UK esports enthusiasts
  6. 66% of respondents in the UK spent more time watching esports since COVID-19 started. 62% of UK respondents will continue to watch esports post COVID-19
  7. 32% of European esports viewers are female, with 13% being enthusiasts and 19% occasional viewers
  8. 60% of the esports audience believe female participation is growing
  9. Female esports fans are more likely to spend on esports products than men (48% v 46%)
  10. Women spend mostly (48% versus 38% of men) on physical merchandise (e.g. team apparel), whereas men tend to spend on digital merchandise (e.g. skins) – which is women’s second most popular spend category, above betting or wagering, and premium esports content
  11. Who spends money amongst European esports fans?
    • 44% are aged 21-30 years old
    • 67% have a full-time job
    • 48% live with a partner and kids
    • 22% have a high income
  12. 60% of UK esports fans watch football, 31% tennis, and 24% motor racing, followed by basketball and cycling
  13. Europe’s preference for football shines through in the fact over 25% of European esports fans watched Rocket League in the last 12 months, making it the 6th most popular esports title in the region. 34% of UK esports enthusiasts watched Rocket League, making it the best performing market
  14. 37% of the European esports audience have a favourite esports team, but 64% have a favourite sports team. This shows that players are still the major draw and teams have a lot more work to do to build fan resonance with their brands
  15. 58% of esports enthusiasts (compared to 37% of occasional viewers) spent money on esports products across Europe in the last 12 months. Spain was the best market, with 62%. The UK was bang on the average
  16. 48% of esports enthusiasts purchased team-specific digital merchandise, including skins, banners, and other content. Cosmetic goods, such as in-game skins, where valued over more functional items
  17. Esports Enthusiasts estimated that 45% of the money they spent on digital esports products was for others, the largest share of which went to their partners (19%)

Click here to download the European esports report – high engagement and even higher potential.

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