Can the metaverse count on Gen-Z gamers?
Gen-Z is expected to lead the creation of the metaverse, drawn by the allure of gaming, but some surveys indicate that even digital natives need to be convinced of the value of visiting virtual worlds.
Piper Sandler’s “Spring 2022 Generation Z Survey” found that 48 percent of teens are either unsure or uninterested in the metaverse. While 26 percent owned a VR device, just five percent said they use it daily and 17 percent use it weekly.
Zipline’s “Retail Metaverse Report” found that 80 percent of Gen-Z respondents are “familiar” with the metaverse and 51 percent have participated in it through gaming, purchasing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or other activities. Gaming was by far the primary reason across generations for participating in the metaverse.
Eighty-five percent of Gen-Zers, however, reported feeling indifferent about brands developing a presence in the metaverse and 43 percent said “understanding” was keeping them from participating in the metaverse.
“It’s still very early days for retail in the metaverse,” said Melissa Wong, Zipline’s CEO, in a statement. “The majority of consumers across all generations have yet to utilize the metaverse in any capacity, and those who have are prioritizing games over shopping. Nonetheless, this creates a unique opportunity for retail brands to establish themselves as leaders in the new virtual economy.”
More bullish was a study from Razorfish and VICE Media Group that found Gen-Z gamers spend 12.2 hours per week playing video games versus 6.6 hours hanging out with friends in person. Of the Gen-Z gamers surveyed, 57 percent feel they are able to self-express more openly to others in a game than they do in real life, 47 percent would like to meet new people in the metaverse and a third would like to use it to build a career.
“Gen-Z gamers view the metaverse as a safe place to freely express themselves, experiment with identities, establish friendships and ultimately create a world they want to live in,” said Nicolas Chidiac, brand strategy lead at Razorfish, in a release.
Several brands and retailers targeting younger consumers, including Nike, Gap, Pacific Sunwear and Forever 21, have been at the forefront in creating metaverse experiences on social gaming platforms such as Roblox.
- Piper Sandler Completes 43rd Semi-Annual Generation Z Survey of 7,100 U.S. Teens – Piper Sandler/Business Wire
- Despite Retail’s Investment in the Metaverse, New Study from Zipline Finds 85% of Gen Z Is Indifferent About Brands Establishing a Virtual Presence – Zipline
- Razorfish Study Finds 52 percent of Gen Z Gamers Feel More Like Themselves in the Metaverse than in Real Life – Razorfish/Business Wire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are marketers relying too much on young gamers to establish the metaverse or is gaming the path to building interest? Do marketers need and can they create a more balanced pitch for the metaverse beyond gaming?