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In the Battle Royale for online gaming supremacy, nothing can stand in Fortnite's way

by Arye Zucker - July 05, 2018

Image credit: Unsplash

Fortnite, the latest in a string of wildly successful online video games, is taking the world by storm. In less than a year, Fortnite has grown to unfathomable heights with a reported 125 million users worldwide, over 3.4 million concurrent users, and an astonishing $296 million in earnings in April 2018 alone -- which is more than double its earnings from just two months earlier. All of this, astonishingly, for a free game.

What isn’t surprising about Fortnite, though, is that like the Internet, most of the spending is done by a huge minority of users. According to data from Slice Intelligence, which measures online U.S. consumers, 58 percent of all money spent in Fortnite is spent by only 9 percent of buyers. On the other end, 48 percent of buyers, by far the largest group, spent absolutely nothing on the free title.

Fornite users online spend

Dollars per buyer

Fortnite: It keeps growing and growing and growing

Like most new companies/apps, Fortnite has seen its fair share of bumps in the road, but since the turn of the calendar to 2018, it has seen nothing but repeated, incredible growth. Compared to January alone, Fortnite’s revenue in May grew 429 percent. If we want to look back even further, since July of 2017 Fortnite’s U.S. revenue has grown an incredible 1,515 percent.

The vast majority of that growth can be attributed to the purchase of vBucks. vBucks are Fortnite’s native currency and are the only way to buy things in the game itself -- players can either earn vBucks through playing the game or spend real money and buy them. Eighty-three percent of all Fortnite revenue generated by online U.S. buyers were generated through the purchase of vBucks. Of all U.S. Fortnite buyers, 43.7 percent purchased vBucks, compared with only 0.4 percent who purchased a player avatar.

Players who bought vBucks spent an average of $60.67 on vBucks and made an average of 3.7 purchases between July 2017 and May 2018. When looking across all transactions, the average Fortnite player spent an average of $34.47 and made an average of 3.1 purchases.

Fortnite Indexed Revenue

Overall vs. vBucks

Video game behemoths control 91.8 percent of online U.S. sales

It’s no surprise that Sony and Microsoft, the respective makers of Playstation and Xbox, are commanding most of the spend for Fortnite. Sony commands a healthy 52.8 percent of all online U.S. spend while Microsoft accounts for 39.1 percent. In March Fortnite launched for mobile (iOS only) earning iTunes a spot on the podium with a very distant 6.3-percent-of-spend bronze medal. No other merchant, not even the mighty Amazon, cracked 1.2 percent.

So who are the people spending their hard-earned money on this game? Predominantly men, who make up 77 percent of all online U.S. buyers. Broken down by age, buyers between the ages of 45 and 54 take the cake with 23.6 percent, and when looking at income, buyers who make between $25,000 and $49,999 a year comprise 25.9 percent.

“Fortnight is building highly engaged mass audiences in a way that only the highest profile television shows and events can match,” said Ken Cassar, principal analyst, Slice Intelligence.  “Fortnight’s success suggests that cloud-based, multi-player gaming could one day supplant television as the media that unites us as Ed Sullivan and Happy Days once did.”

About this data

With a panel of over 5.5 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time, which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Slice Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.