The family entertainment center (FEC) sector has been the “shining star” in the coin-op games business for years now. The public clearly enjoys spending time in these places, giving a great PR lift to our industry’s “brand.” It also means more manufacturers selling more games, more prize suppliers funneling their goods through the ticket and auto-prize machines, and more center operators making more money to reinvest in our economic cycle. One of the reasons for this success is the savvy those operators have brought to the FEC table, like knowing who their customers are and how to keep them entertained and coming back.
The demographic that most people in business seem to agree as one to focus on right now is the so-called Millennial generation. This group of young people is generally defined as those coming of age in the 21st century (i.e. roughly, people in their 20s). And, according to the last F2FEC conference, these people are more interested in “social experiences” than shopping for “material things.”
One can argue that this kind of motivation puts a big boost in the steam driving the current health of the FEC business. Millennials want to be social, and not just on their electronic devices. They’d rather be together sharing a common experience than out buying clothes or cars. Plus, more Millennials are waiting to get married or start a family, so they have more expendable income, all good news for coin-op.
Millennials grew up with social media. They don’t know a world without it. And believe it or not, that’s also a good thing for our industry, although many would disagree. Young people want to share their experiences with their online social circle. They want to be creative on Instagram and Snapchat, It’s all part of the fun. So, going out to a Dave & Buster’s, a Lucky Strike, a trendy bar or a local brewpub with games makes for great sharing on social media. It’s fun, and fun is good and worth sharing with everyone. And sharing is good for your business!
Which reminds me…social media is here to stay. I may not be a Millennial, but the sooner we embrace it and stop treating it like the second death blow of the video game industry, the sooner we can tap it to create opportunities for free advertising and publicity. Many of you guys are doing amazing things with social media and the real pros in this business get how valuable a tool it really is. Being “old” is no longer an excuse. Start on Instagram and post a picture once a day. You’ll be amazed how quickly your “followers” will add up. Your Millennials will love it!