With post Brexit Britain causing a headache for property vendors in both the commercial and residential sector, there may be an unlikely saviour in the form of Pokémon Go.
Already the biggest US mobile game ever according to data from survey monkey and with more than 21 million daily active users, the addictive app has added more than 7 billion USD to Nintendo’s market value.
To briefly explain what the game is about, through the use of map data and GPS technology, players hunt through planet earth looking for Pokémon to collect. Using augmented reality, the game brings the fictional characters to life, much to the joy of the millions of Pokémon fans worldwide.
So how will this humble app provide a boost to those looking to sell in the currently faltering UK property market? Fast food retailer McDonald’s provides the perfect case study.
In recognising the absurd popularity of the game that has seen individuals fall in to rivers, walk into lampposts and take over parks to catch rare Pokémon, they are set to be partnering with Nintendo to convert every McDonald’s into a gym and PokeStop – places where you can battle other Pokémon players and collect items to level up your character.
In America, where the game has been out the longest, savvy property vendors and landlords are already capitalising on this very idea to increase sales and house prices.
Estate Agent Jay Glazer sought to increase viewings at his $1.5 million house by writing in his advert that, “I’m fairly certain there is a PIKACHU at this open house, don’t miss it.” Another listing on property site Zillow read, “3 Pokemon Go Gyms, and 5 Pokestops. Confirmed Squirtle sighting in the backyard, and there may or may not be a Charzard lvl 7 in the neighbors shed. Must see to appreciate!”
While it may sound utterly ridiculous, the prospect of owning or renting a house that has a high level Pokémon in the garden, along with a gym and a couple of PokeStop’s nearby is highly appealing to many individuals and could well be the difference between them choosing one property over another.
After all, if you are torn between two near identical properties, but one has a Pokémon gym nearby that your children want to claim, the house without the Pokémon connection is staying on the market.
It is exactly for this reason why commercial property developers should be contacting Nintendo immediately to see if they can get their property listed as a gym with a couple of rare Pokémon situated close by.
The worldwide frenzy is showing no signs of letting up and the viral marketing potential is too significant to ignore.
According to property experts the Open Property Group, with the UK property market in a precarious position following the triple whammy of tax relief and stamp duty changes to buy-to-let; compounded with the grey overhanging cloud of Brexit uncertainty, drumming up interest and prospective buyers via Pokémon Go is an extremely inexpensive marketing strategy that could pay dividends.
Of course time will ultimately have the last word on whether virtual characters from a fictional universe could be the driving force behind the UK’s property market revival, but with no risk involved, why wouldn’t you capitalise on this modern phenomenon?