Why Gen Z + Gaming = Fertile Ground for Fashion Retail Right Now – Sourcing Journal

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While Gen X and Baby Boomers may have a hard time understanding what the Metaverse is, Gen Z is completely immersed in it. Now, digital experts point to gaming as a platform for brands to connect and interact with this generation.

“It’s not an alien or futuristic concept to them – it’s their reality,” says a report by digital marketing agency Razorfish and Vice Media, titled “The Metaverse: A View from Inside.” “Through virtual events, AR (augmented reality), games, and other immersive experiences, the metaverse is impacting how Gen Z thinks, acts, socializes, and spends money every day. “

Among other things, the Razorfish/Vice report found that 1 in 3 Gen Z respondents would like to see virtual stores to browse/purchase products. As it stands, they’re already buying virtual goods for their virtual experiences, and over the next five years, 20% of Gen Z’s “fun budget” will go to the metaverse, up from 15% (or $50 per year) today. And whether it’s customizing their avatar or buying things that align with their values, 2 in 5 Gen Z respondents say their virtual possessions are just as important to them as their real possessions.

Currently, 35% of Gen Z consumers have tried virtual reality (VR), according to Cotton Incorporated’s Coronavirus Consumer Response Surveys. This compares to 30% of Millennials, 26% of Gen X and 13% of baby boomers.

More than a quarter of teens (26%) own a VR device, according to Piper Sandler’s Taking Stock with Teens Survey, Fall 2022. Weekly use of VR devices stands at 14%. Meanwhile, the company found that video games make up 12% of teenagers’ wallet share, and 30% plan to buy a next-gen console within two years.

The Razorfish/Vice report also found that 46% of Gen Z would like brands to offer free products and experiences in games or other metaverse areas. Another 36% would like them to provide experiences, followed by 23% who would like brands to create digital worlds and 18% who would like to see advertising on virtual billboards.

Youth-focused market research consultancy YPulse has long argued that the future of advertising is in games. Its Metaverse Trends Report shows that 73% of young people love when brands interact with their virtual worlds, and brands that do can be “unbelievably successful” if they do it right. This means that brands can meet these consumers on platforms such as Roblox Games, Minecraft and Fortnite. YPulse found that 61% of young consumers agree that when brands interact with the virtual worlds they are part of, it makes them more likely to buy from that brand.

“It’s a good idea for any brand that hasn’t done this to start thinking about how they can do this,” the Ypulse team says in a post. The firm mentions how Walmart joined the metaverse through Roblox with Walmart Land and game universetwo online worlds that provide live event opportunities like virtual concerts, games and “verch” – virtual merchandise.

Meeting clients in the metaverse can help solidify an already established relationship. As it stands, mass merchandisers like Walmart are the second most popular stores for Gen Zers to buy clothes in real life (13%), just behind fast fashion stores like Zara and Forever 21 , according to Cotton Incorporated. lifestyle monitor™Survey. Next come specialty stores like American Eagle and Gap.

Incidentally, Gap also entered the metaverse through his Club RobloxShop, which will help “attract a younger audience and foster a sense of inclusion,” according to a report by Zipline, an operating platform and solution provider. PacSun also with sound PacWorlda metaverse version of its physical stores “that allows users to participate in a community with exciting visuals and activities”.

Zipline’s report indicates that one of the main challenges for retailers will be overcoming a lack of understanding of the metaverse. He suggests that brands can overcome this barrier to entry through hybrid in-store experiences where augmented reality (AR) meets real life, as well as VR technologies for online shopping and interacting with friends online. online and in store. Zipline points to Lululemon, which has equipped some of its stores with AR-enabled mirrors that allow users to connect with friends.

Generation Z has a lot more experience with AR technologies than other generations. Coronavirus consumer response surveys show that 41% of Gen Z consumers have tried AR, while 34% are aware of it but have not tried it. This compares to 23% of Millennials who have tried it and 30% who are aware of it but have not tried it. Among Generation X, 24% have tried AR, while 34% are aware of it but have not tried it. And baby boomers are far behind, with only 5.7% having tried it, although 31% are aware of it.

Something new to watch: TikTok is adding a dedicated gaming tab to its platform. This is major, considering that TikTok is already the best social media site for Gen Z, according to YPulse.

“TikTok and gaming were made for each other,” TikTok’s Assaf Sagy, Global Head of Gaming, said in a LinkedIn post. “TikTok has shown its value by far in helping consumers discover what’s fun, valuable and popular.”

Melissa Wong, CEO and co-founder of Zipline, says it’s “still very early days” for retail in the metaverse, even among Gen Z gamers.

“Nevertheless,” says Wong, “it creates a unique opportunity for retail brands to establish themselves as leaders in the new virtual economy. The key is to engage with consumers with entertaining and accessible digital content that lowers barriers to entry and meets metaverse users where they already exist.

The Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ is an ongoing research program that measures consumer attitudes and behaviors around clothing, shopping, fashion, sustainability, and more.

For more information on the Lifestyle Monitor™ survey, please visit https://lifestylemonitor.cottoninc.com/.

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