By Diaa Elyaacoubi, CEO of Monnier Paris
The younger generation’s dreams of building their own world will change how we operate,
and businesses must not miss the opportunity to capture on their momentum. Gen-Z, colloquially known as Zoomers, are those born between the mid-90s to the early 2010s and have already had a massive influence on the direction that technology has taken. Whether it is embracing new platforms and devices that then directly see millions of investment, or their reluctance to buy into other forms that they deem morally grey.
This generation is no longer afraid to undertake different ventures and seek new challenges. The most obvious example of this is the hold that video games have on this generation. It’s everywhere and businesses must seize it. In 2021, the UK saw more than 44 million video game players. It’s clear the period of niche subculture and of marketing solely to teenage boys is over. Worldwide, revenues from the gaming industry have reached $300 billion, 2 and a half times more than the music and film industries combined.
Not only that, but the nature of video games has evolved substantially. While side scrollers like Super Mario still occupy a place in everyone’s heart, games have now become a third place for people. Separate from work or home, games like Roblox or Minecraft are not solely contained to the old parameter of video games as distracting bright lights. They can be played everywhere by everyone at any time. The introduction and widespread availability of high-speed broadband means people can play with others across the world. It has fostered a global community that connects on a deeper level than we ever imagined possible.
Businesses that are looking to address the next generation must take note of this and understand how they can be a part of it. The best way forward is to play into this with gamification; the strategic implementation of introducing game mechanics into non-game-specific environments.
However, that is by no means easy. The latest generation, having grown up in a time of online advertisements and fake news, understands when it’s being lured in solely with the intent of boosting company profits. The challenge for businesses lies in offering a gamified adventure to their audience that actually enhances the customer experience. There must be a real commitment from businesses to form a bond between themselves and the next generation or they will lose out to new entrants into their space.
Look at how eSports is capturing the attention of people who never got into athletics, or how VR headsets are being purchased by those who haven’t touched a console before. Rather than adapt to our universe, the next generation is currently building its own in which digital technology will be omnipresent. All sectors should be concerned and you can sectors including finance, transport and even insurance doubling down on their efforts to capture the hearts and minds of Gen-Z. But one sector has already welcomed the gamification experience with open arms; eCommerce, specifically, ones with a focus on luxury.
The pandemic completely changed how fashion is consumed. The select few who flew across Europe’s most stylish cities to see exclusive shows were suddenly stuck at home. The audience was a key driver for this change in fashion too. Gen-Z will soon make up two-thirds of all luxury consumers and desire to see a different experience, one that can elicit the same emotions of surprise and delight as they would have felt sitting in the first row of a fashion show.
One must only look to the opportunities taken in the wake of Web 3.0. When the Decentraland platform launched its Metaverse fashion week earlier in the year, luxury fashion houses were quick to understand the untapped potential it could bring. They immediately responded, creating bespoke digital collections for the event. Another example dates back to December 2020, when Balenciaga showcased its collection in an actual video game it created.
But brands can always go further. There must be a steady stream of investment to bring in the correct players to keep this next stage of the web alive and thriving. While the metaverse has its fair share of criticism, that will only continue without the introduction of strong investment from new media, publishers, studios and eCommerce. There must be a firm and combined commitment to building and developing this ecosystem.
eCommerce will need strong ambition to survive the evolution of the internet. Gone are the days of just being an online shopping platform. It must create a new space that embraces and combines gaming and digital experiences with a strong focus on customer experience.