The Future of Interactive Commerce
The future of interactive commerce is gaming.
Digitalization has removed friction between buyers and sellers. It has connected physical and digital shopping seamlessly but Gen Z and Millennials, which account for 40%, and 23% of global consumers respectively, seek more than just a unidirectional online shopping experience.
They seek an interactive shopping experience they can share online to boost their social status and that is prima facie good for the environment and society.
The gaming metaverse offers exactly that and digital first consumer brands are starting to take notice.
H&M is the latest brand to take its sustainability efforts to the virtual world collaborating with Nintendo’s game Animal Crossing and Maisie Williams, actor and filmmaker known for her work on Game of Thrones. In the H&M Looop Island in Animal Crossing players can recycle their game outfits into new ones using an online version of Looop, H&M’s in-store recycling system. Bringing fashion to video games is not new for Nintendo. Animal Crossing partnered before with Valentino and Marc Jacobs to bring clothing to its in-game characters; but bringing sustainable fashion is new and that matters to Gen Z and Millennials.
Stella McCarthy, a luxury brand known for advocating cruelty-free fashion using vegan & leather look alike fabrics, has partnered with ROBLOX, an online game platform with +200 millions MAU (monthly average users) to bring its designs to the platform, following the footsteps of an earlier collaboration between Gucci and Roblox.
Balenciaga, a Spanish luxury fashion house, has pushed the bar even higher and released last December Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a video game showcasing its fall 2021 collection.
Many more luxury brands including Burberry, Luis Vuitton have partnered and are partnering with video games to attract, engage and retain new customers because providing an interactive immersive shopping experience that can be shared online is crucial to turning viewers into paying customers in today's world.
Interactive media turns a monologue into a dialogue, and the gaming metaverse allows players to create a “Digitalself” through their choice of clothing, appearances, experiences etc. that they then can share with the world online and in turn use to boost their social status.
130% of 2018-25 global market growth in the personal luxury sector is expected to come from Millennials and Gen Z according to a recent study produced by Boston Consulting Group and Altagamma; and yes, mothers are into video games. Last year Activision Blizzard published it study on Global Moms concluding that moms are indeed gamers and they are big consumers.
In the near future we will be able to order our new Stella McCarthy handbag (and much more) directly from the video game after having our Digitalself try it out.
What about Gaming and the watch industry?
The watch industry has a +40 years history with gaming starting with the Nelsonic game watches in the mid 80s and much later with the smartwatches offering games. Even Garmin known for its running watches has branched into gaming with its new Garmin Instinct Esports Edition helping players the optimize their performances.
Luxury watch Romain Jerome has launched a Space Invaders collection inspired by the iconic arcade game and last year Tissot became the official watch and timekeeper of the NBA 2K League, an eSports league joint venture between the National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.
To the extent that APAC holds 48% market share in the gaming industry and is growing at a rate of 17.5% YoY (Year-on-Year) and APAC also happens to be the biggest market for Swiss watches and material to its recovery, a synergy between gaming and Swiss watches seems obvious.
Not to mention that according to a study from McKinsey & Company by 2025 Generation Z is forecast to account for a quarter of the population in the Asia-Pacific region; and most of Gen Z happen to be gamers.
BREITLING has noticed this reality and is leading the way, in the luxury watch sector, in gamifying its consumer experience with its collaboration with the fashion gaming app Drest.
Experiences and consumption habits are no longer constrained by the physicality of a good or the size of a device, screen.
Experiences and consumption habits are gained through both the physical and the virtual worlds.
Video games are how many generations today simply connect. It is the universal language that brings people together from all walks of life, and is expected to generate global revenues of USD 189.3 billion in 2021.
2.8 billion people play games today and the number will only go up as 5G is rolled out, and fiber optic installations and credit card penetration increase.
Gamification is real and the future of interactive commerce is gaming.