Hub88.io director Vladimir Negine explores 2020’s most important slots trends by taking a deep dive in the content aggregator’s huge sample of data.
The online casino sector has adapted well to what has been an extraordinary set of circumstances in 2020. But to continue to thrive in uncertain times, it has never been more important to better understand the modern casino player.
Our content aggregator, Hub88.io, has processed almost one billion bets and spins so far this year, across more than 40 operator partners worldwide.
We took a closer look at this trove of data to see how the global pandemic – and longer-term trends – have impacted player behaviour in 2020.
Variations on a theme
Looking across the almost one billion spins we have recorded in 2020, we are able to track the most popular slots by theme, and compare any changes with the previous year.
Last year, historical themed slots topped the charts, accounting for nine per cent of total spins. But this year, these slots dropped to third in our rankings.
Instead, 2020’s top slot theme is nature and the natural world – perhaps understandable at a time when most of us have been stuck inside under lockdown for a large chunk of the year.
In second place are consistently-performing Oriental-themed slots, although these have also lost share, accounting for 6.7 per cent of total spins versus 7 per cent in 2019.
Lower down the list, we see some interesting trends, some of which don’t always match up to commonly held beliefs.
For instance, there was much talk of sports-themed slots dominating in 2020 as the world’s major sporting competitions were forced to take a break. But our data shows that these slots are actually around 25 per cent worse off than in 2019, suggesting these titles work best in tandem – and not as an alternative – to the real thing.
And some other classic themes have also been struggling in 2020. Vikings and space-themed games each lost around half their share.
The big climbers of 2020 included gold-themed slots, as well as more classic fruit-based games.
Europe vs Asia
Much has been made of the difference between European and Asian casino players, but too often conclusions are based on lazy stereotypes.
We looked at more than three years of Hub88 data to unpick some key differences between players in the two regions, and the first thing to jump out was how these two groups choose to play online casino.
Players in Asia are more regular customers. We tracked active players and found they play, on average, almost seven days per month. Their European counterparts log an average of just under four days.
However, this only tells part of the story. If we look at the average length of these sessions, Europeans are playing roughly 20 percent longer every time they log in.
Delivering more ‘snackable’ content to Asian markets, while pushing immersive content to Europe may be a way to better tailor a product to each region.
Appetite for risk?
European and Asian players also differ significantly on the volatility of the games they prefer.
Europeans spend almost twice as many active players hours on high volatility slots compared to players in Asia, who trend towards mid and low-volatility titles.
Looking elsewhere, Canadian players more closely resemble European in terms of their appetite for volatile games; players in Africa and Latin America have lower volatility thresholds more similar to Asian players.
And globally overall players are beginning to favour higher-volatility games; high volatility games accounted for 47 per cent of all play in 2020, compared to 45.8 per cent the previous year.
It is no secret that online casino has become increasingly mobile over recent years. Hub88.io data shows the extent of this transition.
In 2017, 65 per cent of all play took place on desktops, with 35 per cent shared between app, mobile web and tablet. In 2020, we are now at a 54-46 split in favour of desktop. The move towards mobile slightly slowed year-on-year, perhaps in part due to the global lockdown.
It is slot players who are driving this move to mobile. Those playing table games still tend to prefer the desktop, with only 40 per cent of this segment using mobile as their primary device.
Lessons from 2020
While 2020 has not exactly been a normal year, the data shows that underlying trends continue to emerge and develop.
What is clear is that online casino, and particularly slots, is not a static enterprise. Player preferences and behaviours are constantly evolving.
Ultimately, keeping track of these trends and adapting your offering to meet them will be the best way to succeed – regardless of what unknowns may be around the next corner.