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How Gen Z consumers are shopping in the Metaverse

by | Mar 9, 2022 | Marketing, Public Relations

New research from experiential e-commerce platform Obsess reveals that 70 percent of all consumers who have shopped online in a virtual store have made a purchase in one, according to The Metaverse Mindset: Consumer Shopping Insights. The study was designed to gauge consumers’ perceptions of and demand for virtual shopping experiences in the metaverse, a market opportunity that Bloomberg Intelligence estimates will reach nearly $800 billion by 2024.

The survey also found that nearly 75 percent of Gen Z shoppers have purchased a digital item within a videogame and that 60 percent of these young shoppers think that brands should sell their products on metaverse platforms. Among Gen Zers who think brands should sell in the metaverse, 54 percent reasoned that people should be able to shop anywhere they go online, while 45 percent indicated that metaverse environments should be like online shopping malls. In addition, 41 percent of these Gen Zers said brands should sell in the metaverse because it gives consumers a convenient place to buy digital products like NFTs as well as physical products.

The survey also found that fully one-third of all survey respondents, including 40 percent of Gen Zers and 40 percent of millennials, would be interested in shopping for real or virtual products in metaverse environments that brands create.

“Our data indicate that the majority of younger consumers want to be able to shop their favorite brands anywhere they go online, including on metaverse platforms,” said Neha Singh, CEO and founder of Obsess, in a news release. “These shoppers have grown up with online videogames, esports and social media and many of them see the emerging metaverse as a modern-day mall—a connected virtual world where they can hang out, shop and socialize. For retail brands, these survey findings highlight the importance of creating sound metaverse commerce strategies today that will resonate with consumers over the coming years.”

A quarter of consumers have shopped online in a 3D virtual store

Among that group, 70 percent —including 69 percent of Gen Zers, 77 percent of millennials and 67 percent of Gen Xers—have made a purchase in a virtual store. Such stores are widely seen as brands’ entryway into the metaverse.

The majority of consumers who shop in a 3D virtual store find it highly engaging

Among respondents who had previously shopped online in a virtual store, 60 percent indicated that they are likely to do so again, including 54 percent of Gen Zers, 68 percent of millennials and 67 percent of Gen Xers.

Online videogame platforms are key metaverse shopping environments

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Gen Zers and 62 percent of respondents overall have purchased a digital item—such as an accessory, skin or garment for their avatar—within an online videogame.

In addition, more than half of respondents (52 percent) said they would pay up to $49.99 for a virtual product for their avatar to use within an online videogame.

When asked about their interest in exploring worlds, islands or environments created by their favorite brands in online videogames, 51 percent of Gen Zers and 44 percent of millennials indicated they would be very interested in doing so. This compares with 41 percent of Gen Zers and 38 percent of millennials who said they would be interested in exploring any metaverse environments that brands create.

Not all consumers are clear on how the metaverse is defined

Just over half (53 percent) of respondents said they are very or somewhat familiar with the term metaverse, indicating that retail brands will need to establish clear messaging when it comes to describing their metaverse offerings to consumers.

Some 40 percent of all respondents think the metaverse is still in the conceptual stage, but that it will eventually take the form of connected online technology platforms that people will navigate using a digital avatar, while more than a quarter (27 percent) mistakenly perceive that the term metaverse refers to a technology owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

Based on their current understanding of the metaverse, 38 percent of respondents surveyed said they would like to be able to shop in the metaverse, including 42 percent of Gen Zers, 44 percent of millennials and 56 percent of Gen Xers.

Obsess’s The Metaverse Mindset: Consumer Shopping Insights survey was fielded from 1,001 US consumers who were surveyed online by Kantar December 22–29, 2021. Gen Zers are defined as consumers ages 16–24, millennials as ages 25–40, Gen Xers as ages 41–56, and baby boomers/silvers as age 57 and older.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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