It is no secret that to optimize lottery product sales at retail, standing out among the clutter is key. In fact, research shows that approximately half of all scratch ticket purchases are an impulse decision, reinforcing the need to feature innovative, eye-catching designs and novel characteristics that command attention. Combining these elements into a portfolio plan that leverages timely themes and special occasions is paramount to creating games that inspire purchases throughout the year.
One of the most important, revenue-generating times of the year for the industry is undoubtedly the holiday season. A 2023 research study conducted by Pollard Banknote amongst Michigan Lottery players noted that 53% of participants bought scratch tickets as a gift over the holiday season and 83% chose holiday-themed tickets for their gifts.
Novel features that provide a pop of excitement are often the answer for shoppers searching for the perfect stocking stuffer. The unique, foldable shape of Pollard Banknote’s Big-Ticket Pop-Up™, for example, has made a lasting first impression in the markets that have launched it thus far. With an extra-large game play surface, players transform a festive-themed ticket into a three-dimensional shape that stands on its own and can even double as holiday decor! The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) first launched this concept with Treasure Tree in 2021 as part of its holiday portfolio. The game was so successful that it returned in 2022 and sold out in just 8 weeks!
Building on the brilliance of Scratch FX®—Pollard Banknote’s enduring print innovation that has enhanced more than 1,500 games worldwide and generated over $40 billion in retail sales to date—Scratch FXtra™ amplifies the dazzle with the addition of a registered holograph, resulting in a visual delight worthy of gift-giving. For the 2022 holiday season, the Wisconsin Lottery included The Perfect Gift in its line-up, which was wrapped with a stunning holographic bow to accentuate the festive theme. Player appreciation for this “gift” was clear, as it sold out in less than 10 weeks!
While the holiday season is unmatched in terms of its sales-generating ability, other special occasions throughout the year are emerging as solid sales boosting opportunities. While Valentine’s Day isn’t always part of the portfolio planning discussion, the Idaho Lottery is demonstrating that perhaps it should be. The Lottery found a fun way to help players celebrate the season of love this year with the launch of its $5 Sweethearts scratch game. Leveraging Pollard Banknote’s new digital printing technology, Sweethearts includes 20 unique scenes featuring heart-shaped candies bearing different phrases such as “Cutie Pie” and “Be Mine”. Digital printing affords endless creative possibilities, enriching instant play experiences with rich, vivid graphics, and inspiring a new era of game concepts and options. With a strategic post-holiday launch, Sweethearts has become an object of affection for Idaho Lottery players, selling 14% higher when compared to other $5 games.
The use of striking print innovations is an ideal way to commemorate other special occasions throughout the year, such as a lottery anniversary or the introduction of a new price point. When the Texas Lottery launched $20 Million Supreme, the U.S. lottery industry’s first $100 scratch ticket game, it chose to adorn the ticket with an opulent combination of Pollard Banknote’s Scratch FX® and Soft Touch innovations. Soft Touch, part of The Touchables™ line of specialty inks, adds a luxurious texture to scratch tickets that provides an unexpected element of elegance. This powerful combination was also used by two additional lotteries in 2022 to launch their first-ever $100 scratch games to convey the games’ value and uniqueness in the market.
By combining elements of novelty, innovation, and special themes into the annual portfolio planning strategy, players will be treated to special moments of excitement and joy throughout the year. In an increasingly competitive retail environment, this has become all the more important. Whether to celebrate the holiday season, mark a momentous occasion, launch a new product or just to refresh the look and feel of a player-favorite game, there is always an opportunity to make tickets stand out and engage players all year round.