Should fashion brands lean into the metaverse?

Anna Otieno, Head of Research, Strategy & Insights

Carli Gernot, Content Development Specialist

The metaverse is here, and now fashion brands are taking advantage of a rapidly-growing opportunity. Brands like Ralph Lauren, H&M, and Gucci are all outfitting avatars with virtual ensembles on Roblox, a massively popular gaming platform and storefront. According to Roblox, their players are active and eager to outfit their avatars with virtual clothes and accessories from their favorite brands.

As more brands migrate to the metaverse to open up virtual, gamified shopping experiences, they will have opportunities to engage with a previously untapped audience: VR fashion enthusiasts.

Gen Z is active and ready to shop on the metaverse.

The scale and level of engagement of the metaverse audience is something to behold. To date, the roughly 43 million players that make up the metaverse have made more than 165 billion avatar updates. This translates to an active audience that is spending money on in-game items to make their avatars look good.

A Voxburner report found that 65% of Gen Zers spend money on items within a game. Obsess—a virtual store platform—conducted a different study of 1,001 U.S. consumers late last year, which revealed that nearly 75% of Gen Z shoppers have purchased a digital item within a video game, and 60% of those shoppers believe brands should sell their products on the metaverse.

American Eagle’s Members Away Club makes virtual fashion accessible.

American Eagle Members Away
Photo Credit: American Eagle

It’s becoming clear that fashion brands need to extend into the metaverse by developing direct-to-avatar offerings to establish a solid position in the virtual economy. American Eagle is already testing the virtual fashion waters with their Members Away Club.

Shoppers can now engage with American Eagle on Roblox for the first time with Livetopia, a top role-playing game (RPG). Users can collect exclusive game items, including apparel from their spring collection, and hang out with other avatars in American Eagles’ Members Away Club.

The apparel brand is also engaging with Snapchatters virtually, allowing them to play interactive AR tennis and earn points by hitting targets featuring American Eagle items from their spring collection. Players can even scan physical American Eagle store window displays to gain access to an immersive, in-app AR experience.

Translation: The metaverse creates a big opportunity for fashion retail brands.

While some brands are using the metaverse as a marketing tool to get shoppers to make physical clothing purchases, others see it as an opportunity to engage with a larger audience with a hybrid approach to virtual and physical retail. For fashion retail marketers, this presents significant growth opportunities propped up by a massive metaverse market, expected to reach $678 billion by 2030. Morgan Stanley has estimated the virtual fashion market could reach $55 Billion by 2025. As the metaverse continues to evolve, retailers have an opportunity to blend physical and virtual shopping experiences that enable them to get their products in front of a large audience of engaged virtual shoppers.