YPulse recently published our Where is the Metaverse? Trend Report and data from this report shows that 90% of European Gen Z and Millennials have already engaged in at least one activity in the metaverse, and 45% say they’ve spent time in the metaverse. In other words, the metaverse is far from being a dead concept, despite the fact that over the last few months, AI (ChatGPT, especially) took the spotlight. So what exactly are young Europeans doing in the metaverse, and what will they do in virtual worlds in the future? We asked 13-39-year-old consumers in Western Europe what they’ve done in the metaverse, among a given list of suggestions such as “attend a concert in a virtual world,” or “play a video game using a virtual reality headset.” Here are their top answers:
The top activity young Europeans have done in the metaverse is create an avatar
Creating and designing virtual avatars is a popular activity among young Europeans, and the majority have already participated. This is especially true for the younger gen, with two-thirds of Gen Z reporting they have created an avatar for themselves in a video game, 12pts more than Millennials (54%). Avatars are virtual representations of themselves, and as such, these consumers want to make sure their avatars look good online. Among young Europeans who play video games in the metaverse, 47% of them say their avatar represents their personality.
Brands have new opportunities to engage with young consumers via their avatars. Last year Adidas launched an online platform for young consumers to create their virtual avatars based on a personality test, in partnership with Ready Player One. Meanwhile, German clothing brand Hugo Boss prototyped a special mirror that allows shoppers to create avatars based on their exact measurements and use Hugo Boss’ virtual try-ons. And the luxury sector is witnessing a boom in collaborations between brands and virtual designers to create digital collections for avatars, such as Mishi McDuff’s House of Blueberry. Avatar fashion is growing so much that Parson’s School of Design even started a digital fashion course in Roblox to guide students through digital design using Roblox tools.
Knowing what activities young Europeans engaged in the metaverse is crucial, but to anticipate future demand, brands need to know what these consumers plan to do in the future in the virtual world, too:
The majority of young Europeans plan to hang out with their friends in the metaverse
When asked what activities they intend to do in the metaverse in the future, young Europeans’ top answer is to spend time with their friends, with nearly half of them saying they’d like to hang out with friends (48%). The younger gen is more likely to use the metaverse for socialization compared to Millennials: 54% of European Gen Z say they want to hang out with friends in the metaverse in the future, compared with 45% of European Millennials. Socialization is key in virtual worlds, and it’s already one of the top activities that young Europeans have done in the metaverse. It’s a hobby young Europeans started doing during the global pandemic, when so many of them could not meet physically with their friends due to lockdown / stay-at-home orders.
Data from YPulse’s Where is the Metaverse? Trend Report shows that 69% of young Europeans who play games in the metaverse agree with the statement, “It is easier to talk to others in the virtual world than it is in real life.” This indicates that young consumers feel confident to build friendships in virtual worlds. As virtual connections become a crucial aspect of the metaverse’s future, some brands have already started leveraging this trend. For the Coachella music festival, Absolut Vodka introduced a metaverse land to encourage participants to virtually mix with others during the event. The alcohol brand partnered with Hey! Vina—a friend-finding app—to help young consumers find their best festival friend.
Many European Gen Z and Millennials are interested in phygital shopping in the metaverse
Young Europeans are showing interest in shopping for products in the metaverse and having them delivered to their homes in real life. This type of shopping involves phygital products which merge the virtual and physical worlds to provide a unique interactive experience for the user. Now, over a third of young Europeans believe they will shop for clothes this way in the future (34%). Brands should take note of this hybrid approach to shopping as young consumers want a connection between virtual and real-life products. YPulse told you how Zara launched itself into the metaverse through the virtual platform Zepeto, and so far the Spanish fast-fashion powerhouse has launched three phygital collections, helping connect virtual and IRL collections for its customers.
But it’s not just clothes that young consumers are interested in buying in a phygital format: 28% of young Europeans are interested to shop for food in the metaverse, which would then be delivered to their IRL homes. This is something ShiftPixy is already doing: the company has a chain of virtual restaurants in the metaverse allowing users to order in a virtual world like Roblox and receive their food in their (real) homes. Other companies are expected to follow this trend, and the food industry will likely become more prominent in the metaverse, as it reflects a need from young Europeans.