hich were the major highlights of SUZOHAPP in 2020?
2020 was certainly unexpected. While almost nothing turned out as we had originally planned, we learned a lot about ourselves and our team and how to be more streamlined with our business. The best highlight, however, was the responses we got from the nursing staff that we donated masks to earlier this year. It was a very emotional and stressful time as PPE was unavailable early on and the overwhelming gratitude, we received from the MPAC Healthcare team made it all worthwhile.
Given that Suzohapp offers gaming, amusement, sports betting, lottery, and bingo products for casino operators and gaming OEMs, could you detail in which ways did customer demand shift when the first lockdown measures were implemented across the globe? What are operators currently demanding?
Due to the massive impact the pandemic has had across the globe including closures and dramatic decreases in occupancy, most of our customers are trying to operate more efficiently and do more with less. As a supplier to both OEMs and operators, we did see our OEM business slow down a bit. Although this could be for various reasons, we speculate it was in part due to operators looking to repair and upgrade existing machines rather than buy new ones. In some cases, it could also be that, in an effort to become more efficient, some OEMs took on more production in-house to try to mitigate the outside expenditures. A lot of our customers have also shifted their interest towards sports betting as the new generation of players is highly interested in this upcoming market. As we have been in the industry for such a long time, we have had the advantage to be in a great position to supply terminals and terminal peripherals to those organizations whose strength lies in the digital aspect of the sports betting market but need that physical tie in as well.
Did you have to adapt your product portfolio to the current situation?
The biggest adaptation we made to our portfolio, in reaction to the pandemic, was to create our Personal Protection Line which we launched this past spring. We saw that there was a significant need for someone to sift through all of the noise of new products aimed at combating the virus and minimizing spread but wanted to help curate a list that was relevant just to our industry. By providing these products during a crucial time we were able to help many of our customers meet the various guidelines to reopen and get them back to accepting customers after the initial closures. Additionally, we witnessed and experienced a lot of issues within the supply chain. There were multiple manufacturers that we either purchased material from or distributed for that were unable to keep their production lines or sometimes even stay afloat. It was a very difficult time for us to adjust to not having products available and we wanted to do whatever we could to make sure that didn’t happen downstream to our customers. In a few of those cases, we determined it would be best for us to pick up where those other companies have dropped off and continue those business lines ourselves.
Do you believe customers are noticing changes in terms of the age/gender/etc of their target audience?
As mentioned earlier, the new generation of players is really starting to make its mark as both OEMs and operators are trying to react as quickly as possible to get their sports betting portfolios and sportsbooks ready to compete in this rising market. This audience skews towards the younger, millennial age and as tech natives, for the first time, as an industry, we are looking to adapt a digital concept and make it work in person rather than the reverse. These younger players are also looking for new ways to pay. While cash is not completely gone, this new generation definitely leans heavily towards cashless solutions and integration with mobile are extremely important. We will likely see a lot of new innovation in this sector within the next year.