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What Brands Should Know About Fashion in the Metaverse

Mar 22 2022

What Gen Z and Millennials think about buying clothes in the metaverse, in three stats…


TL;DR:

  • Many young consumers are buying clothing / accessories for their avatars in virtual games
  • Seeing branded clothing in virtual worlds is making them want to buy it for themselves
  • Brands should prep for a future where ecommerce includes virtual world shopping for real life products

Hopefully you know by now that young people—especially Gen Z—are already in the metaverse.  The majority (75%) of 13-39-year-olds tell us they play a video game that brings them into a virtual world—and in games like Fortnite or Roblox, young players have been buying in-game currency to buy the digital products they want for their avatars. Over half of Gen Z has made themselves an avatar in a virtual world game, and YPulse’s The Metaverse trend research shows that Gen Z players are the most likely to feel their avatars represent their personality. They’re growing up with the  ability to customize virtual versions of themselves in any way they choose in these digital spaces, from using exclusive skins or buying clothing or accessories for them. And fashion and beauty brands in particular are flocking to get inside these virtual worlds to market to them.

But just how many young people are buying digital clothing, and what else do brands need to know about fashion in the metaverse? These three stats from our Metaverse trend report tell the full story:



Two in five young consumers have bought clothing / accessories for their avatar.
For  young consumers, buying virtual goods is a norm, andthat includes clothing / accessories for their avatar, with 41% of young consumers telling us they purchase those types of products for them. It’s also important to note that Gen Z is fueling the purchase of clothing / accessories for their avatar, with Gen Z  more likely than Millennials to say they have done so, and more likely to say that buying things they wouldn’t be able to buy in real life is something that makes virtual worlds fun. Our recent luxury report explored how young people are interested in luxury goods, but want them to be more accessible and affordable, and digital luxury products  are one way they’re being democratized. We told you that digital-only clothing is one major way that brands can reach young consumers, and a slew of fashion and brands have been creating digital collections inside games like Roblox and Fortnite. Last year, luxury brand Gucci debuted a Campaign Sneaker Garage and Gucci Garden while Nike created Nikeland and Ralph Lauren debuted a digital shopping experience—all on Roblox. And of course Balenciaga teamed up with Fortnite to promote some of their most popular pieces and players got to enter a digital Balenciaga store, do a custom dance, and choose branded outfits. Refinery29 also recently reported that popular young gamers on Roblox are becoming fashion designers to design virtual clothing through platforms like Layered Clothing. Meanwhile, digital fashion marketplaces like The Dematerialised are also emerging to make it easier for consumers to buy digital clothing. There’s no doubt that the virtual clothing market is a booming one, and interestingly YPulse found that marketing digital fashion has some commonalities with IRL fashion…

The majority of young consumers want to buy branded clothes they see on other avatars.
YPulse has been tracking the popularity of digital influencers for years now, but as the metaverse continues to expand their influence is likely going to grow. The majority of 13-39-year-olds who play virtual world games say seeing other avatars in branded clothing makes them want to wear that brand. Basically, influencer marketing, and word-of-mouth, works in virtual spaces the way it does in real ones. And in the realm of virtual world games, some brands are dressing up some of their most popular characters in their clothes. For instance, in the campaign for the Balenciaga x Fortnite tie-up, the high fashion brand outfitted Doggo (a popular pug-like character in the game) with a branded hoodie, Banshee wore a tiger-striped bodysuit, Ramierz wore a branded sequined top and tattered jeans, and Knight wore branded armor boots with a hoodie and shorts. For its Fortnite Icon Series, the game worked with tennis player Naomi Osaka and her sister on an exclusive digital collection inspired by their Japanese and Haitian heritage that ranged from 1,600 to 2,700 V-Bucks (Fortnite’s in-game currency) and was modeled by Osaka’s avatar in the game. So more brands are using influencer power to promote their digital goods, but marketing in virtual worlds could also lead to real-life purchases…

A third of young consumers are open to buying clothes from virtual worlds to wear in real life.
YPulse’s trend research found that a third of 13-39-year-olds who play virtual world games say their virtual world life has influenced their real-world style. But digital fashion could have even more concrete real life ROI:  33% of young consumers also tell us they think they will someday shop for clothes in the virtual worlds that will be shipped to them in real life. What’s so fascinating about the Balenciaga x Fortnite collab were the digital and physical components they incorporated in their marketing campaign. While Balenciaga allowed players to shop for outfits in a digital store and wear them in the game itself, they also made the limited-edition branded pieces available to purchase in real-life from a physical storefront in NYC. But our data indicates that young people are open to a future where real-world and virtual shopping are blended, and actual physical products could be purchased in the metaverse. Think of it as a next era ecommerce. It’s no wonder so many brands are staking out spaces in virtual worlds and experimenting with digital stores.

YPulse Business users can access the full Metaverse trend report and data here.

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