Kickstats: Does It Matter Where You’re From?

Image by Yours Truly 😉

UPDATED 2021-04-10:

This article now includes all Kickstarter campaigns that launched in 2020. The significant increase in sample sizes has resulted in minor changes to the outcome of our original analysis. Portions of this article have been rewritten to reflect those changes.

Introduction

We all suspect (i.e. basically know) that location has an impact on the outcome of a campaign. There’s just no two ways about it – if you live in the US, your campaign has a higher chance of succeeding simply because most backers come from the US, right? Well you might just be surprised by the answer.

Hypothesis

If I had to guess, I’d say the US will have the highest success rate, though not by much. Why do I think that? Well, because like I mentioned before, the US has the most backers by far. When you think about international shipping costs, it makes sense that most US backers will be more likely to back US-based projects as opposed to international ones. Of course, this is just a hunch. Let’s see if there’s anything to it.

Analysis

First, let’s take a look at the top 10 most popular countries on Kickstarter based on the number of projects launched. We’ll use these as the scope of our analysis. Below is a chart showing the raw success rates of those countries.

As it turns out, my hunch may have been unfounded. So far, the United States looks to be the fourth most successful country. It’s Hong Kong that takes first place with the highest raw success rates.

Lurking Variables

If you’ve read some of the other posts in this series, you know I spend a lot of time thinking about the sneakiness of lurking variables. In this case, we’ll definitely want to spend some time taking a look at those.

First-Time Creators

You might not think about different countries having different percentages of first-time creators, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if that were the case. If nothing else, I’d think the US has fewer first-time creators simply because Kickstarter started in the US, so creators have (theoretically) had more time to create more than one project. Let’s take a look.

It turns out that different countries do actually have different percentages of first-time creators. The US is on the lower end, which tracks fairly well with my thinking. Mexico ends up having the most first-time creators, proportionally. I don’t know why that would be, but we should account for it either way.

Funding Goal

The cost of manufacturing can differ quite dramatically from country to country. One country having generally lower manufacturing costs than another could easily lead to less funding needed for a successful Kickstarter campaign. Since it’s no surprise that funding goal affects the probability of success, it’s definitely possible that a campaign’s country could be confounded with the funding goal.

Well, there’s definitely a difference in median funding goals between countries. Germany and Italy’s are both more than twice that of Mexico’s! So, we’ll do what we can to account for that too.

Results

So which country has the best success rate? Take a look below.

A few of the countries shuffled around a bit, but for the most part, the final results aren’t a whole lot different from the raw results. This shows that the reason a country has higher or lower success rates has very little to do with funding goal or distribution of first-time creators. There are other – more important – factors involved here.

To that effect, Hong Kong still holds the #1 spot by a fairly decent margin. Likewise, Mexico still takes last place by an even larger margin. It makes me wonder about what might be causing that.

Conclusion

Why do you think Hong Kong seems to lead the pack for campaign success rates? Or why would Mexico be so much lower than the rest? Are there any other interesting questions to ask or conclusions to draw? Let me know in the comments!

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