Livart Haum’s gaming furinture (Hyundai Livart)
Gamers are fast becoming the latest demographic target for the retail industry as companies rush to take advantage of a recent surge in video gaming.
Last week, Swedish furniture giant Ikea unveiled a lineup of furniture designed for gamers as a collaboration project with Republic of Gamers -- a gaming-focused brand by a Taiwanese computer manufacturer.
Hitting the shelves next month, the company said the new range including gaming desks, chairs as well as accessories is aimed at “democratizing the gaming experience,” by creating functional and affordable products.
“We believe there’s a lot to be done to democratize the gaming experience,” says Ewa Rychert, Ikea’s global business leader of workspaces.
“Now we take the first step on our gaming journey, and we do it by presenting affordable, high-performing gaming products and complete solutions that we hope reflect people’s personality and taste.”
The move marks a rise in PC gaming in recent years, which has been propelled in part by the pandemic.
When Level 4 social distancing rules came into effect for the first time in Seoul and its surrounding areas, products related to PC gaming soared, according to South Korean e-commerce platform Tmon.
Between July 12 and Sep. 12 when the measure was in place, CPU and memory sales were up 191 percent compared to the same time one year ago, while motherboard and gaming laptop sales were up 96 percent and 80 percent.
Graphic cards also surged 51 percent in sales during the same period, data from the platform showed.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic prolonged, those who play PC games at home, known as ‘the home game tribe’ has been on the rise,” the e-commerce platform explained.
“To play high-spec games in the most optimized environment, a growing number of people are assembling their own PC or investing in peripheral devices to create their own home ‘PC bang.’”
Ikea’s new gaming furniture lineup (Ikea)
PC bang refers to internet cafes in Korea where people pay an hourly rate often to play games with demanding hardware requirements.
As peripheral devices grow in popularity, gaming monitors are also one of the fastest-growing categories in the market, Tmon noted.
Hyundai Livart, a furniture brand under Hyundai Department Store, also introduced a lineup of gaming furniture ranging from chairs, desks, bookshelves to computer accessories.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic and working from home, people are spending more time on their computer so the design of the furniture takes that into consideration,” one official at Hyundai Livart said.
“You use a big PC for gaming rather than a laptop. And it goes against the recent trend for office furniture which is becoming slimmer. Gaming furniture, however, is the opposite in that they are more sturdy and bigger in size,” the official added.
Last year, another e-commerce platform Interpark saw gaming related products surge in popularity.
Sales of laptops and desktops rose 65 percent between early November and December while gaming chairs and desks skyrocketed 667 percent over the same period.
The sales jump was propelled by a growing number of gamers at home and those working and studying from home, the e-commerce platform said at that time.