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The Metaverse is Not Over Yet—Especially for Gen Z

Our new trend report shows Gen Z and Millennials are very much still in the metaverse, meaning your brand should be, too…. 


  • Since last year, Gen Z and Millennials are far more likely to say they’re spending time in the metaverse
  • Now, the majority of Gen Z says they have, with a vast majority being virtual world gamers
  • And more have taken part in metaverse activities, with huge increases amongst Millennials

With all the buzz about artificial intelligence, some marketers think that the metaverse boom is behind us. But YPulse predicted that this year, the metaverse would get its much-needed redefinition, which would prove that its impact is far from over. Our new Where is The Metaverse? trend report explores how Gen Z and Millennials’ understanding of the metaverse is only growing since last year, and how that means brands shouldn’t give up on it quite so fast.  

Last year, brands announced metaverse activations constantly—we even identified it as one of the top marketing trends of the year. And really, it wasn’t as hard as it sounds, because the metaverse is more than what most think it is. In fact, the metaverse as we know it now is really many metaverses, consisting of virtual world video games and spaces that use avatars to explore an open map. So, for Gen Z and Millennials, the metaverse is somewhere they’ve already been for years, as our data shows, many of their top favorite video games are metaverses.  

But not even all young people still really understand what the metaverse means when they hear the buzzword. So, we define the metaverse for them as: “A virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users, virtually go to work, school, shop, play games, hang out with friends, etc.” Then, knowing that definition, we ask 13-39-year-olds how many are spending time in the metaverse, and more are taking up residence in these spaces than last year: 

Bar chart showing how many Gen Z and Millennials say they've spent time in the metaverse based on the above definition, comparing 2022 and 2023

Nearly half of Gen Z and Millennials are in the metaverse this year 

In our 2022 The Metaverse trend report, we found that there were far more Gen Z and Millennials playing virtual world games than the amount who said they were spending time in the metaverse. Even when we provided them with the above definition, only a third said they were in the metaverse last year. But in 2023, nearly half (49%) of all young people say they’ve spent time in this space—proving that it’s growing, not going away.  

Young consumers are primarily spending time in the metaverse through virtual world video games. Our data shows that the top three video games Gen Z and Millennials play are Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox, all of which are virtual sandbox (open world map) games, therefore taking on the title of metaverses. And though just as many were playing virtual world video games last year (75%) as they are this year, it’s clear that they’re understanding these spaces as something more than just games now.  

And for that reason, brands should continue to take advantage of video game marketing for its huge impact. But Gen Z are really leading this growth, meaning they’re even more available for metaverse marketing. When we ask if they’ve spent time in the metaverse knowing the definition we provided, the majority say they have: 

Bar chart showing how many Gen Z and Millennials say they've spent time in the metaverse based on the above definition, comparing Gen Z and Millennials

Gen Z are still leading life in the metaverse 

Just as they were last year, more Gen Z are playing virtual world games and spending time in the metaverse than Millennials are. But even though YPulse data showed nearly nine in 10 Gen Z were playing virtual world games last year, only 37% said they had spent time in the metaverse. This year, just as many are virtual world gamers, but 56% say they’ve spent time in the metaverse (knowing what it really is), indicating a big development in their understanding of the concept. In fact, 57% of Gen Z consider themselves knowledgeable about virtual worlds / spaces, with 14% saying they are very knowledgeable / an expert.  

But even if they say they aren’t in the metaverse, we know a majority of young people play video games in some capacity, meaning they could have any level of experience with virtual worlds. So, to get a sense of what exactly young consumers are doing once they’re in the metaverse, we asked not just gamers, but all Gen Z and Millennials which of the following virtual world related activities they’ve done:  

Bar chart showing how many Gen Z and Millennials have done the following metaverse and virtual world related activities

Avatars and hanging with friends are the biggest parts of their metaverse experiences 

Being a generation of gamers, the majority of Gen Z have created avatars for themselves in virtual worlds—and even on social media (think Snapchat bitmojis). Even the majority of Millennials say so this year, compared to only 39% who said they’d created a virtual world avatar and 38% who made a social media avatar in 2022. Because avatars drive their favorite virtual world games, they’re a major way young consumers are defining their lives in the metaverse. In fact, 52% of Gen Z virtual world gamers say their avatar represents their personality, and 23% say “My avatar is a version of me that I am not able to be in real life.” Another activity the majority of Gen Z are doing in the metaverse is hanging out with friends virtually in a video game. And when they hang out, 42% say they do so through their avatars in a virtual world / space, further emphasizing the importance of understanding this part of the metaverse.   

When it comes to how brands can use this knowledge, it’s all about the virtual world products young people are buying for their avatars. Nearly half (45%) of young people, and 52% of Gen Z, say they’ve purchased clothing / accessories for their avatars—which are perfect branding opportunities. We’ve seen dozens of metaverse clothing collections succeed over the last year, and brands are continuing to roll them out. Virtual fashion can genuinely make young people more interested in a brand IRL: 64% of virtual world gamers agree “Seeing other avatars in branded clothing makes me want to wear that brand.” So, clearly, with so many young people in these virtual worlds and understanding the concept of the metaverse more clearly than ever, brands can continue to reap the benefits of taking their brand digital through avatar items, game activations, and more.