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Millennials and Gen Z driving the demand for metaverse fashion

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: H&M Innovation Metaverse Design Story collection

Millennial and Gen Z consumers are leading the way when it comes to buying fashion in the metaverse, according to new research from Centra, the headless commerce platform for fashion and lifestyle brands.

The research of more than 2,000 UK shoppers revealed that just 9 percent of Brits across all age demographics have bought fashion in the metaverse and that Millennial and Gen Z are driving the demand.

Centra found that a fifth (21 percent) of Millennials and a further 19 percent of Gen Z consumers have already bought a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) fashion purchase or digital fashion asset, with men twice as likely than women to have bought fashion in the metaverse.

Almost two-fifths (38 percent) of those who had bought a fashion NFT had done so because they believed it would be an investment, rising to 46 percent of Gen Z shoppers. The novelty of owning a digital asset also ranked highly among the shoppers polled, with a third (31 percent) motivated by it being a new digital form of owning something from a brand they liked, and 28 percent said they liked the idea of owning something in a virtual world.

However, 34 percent added they didn’t want to own fashion digitally, preferring physical fashion garments.

Martin Jensen, chief executive and co-founder of Centra, said in a statement: “The metaverse is still evolving – and you could say that it is still shapeshifting as retailers and brands try and get their heads around the opportunities this next dimension of retail offers. And whilst the metaverse isn’t here in its final guise yet, it’s certainly real for consumers who are already showing demand and adoption when it comes to owning fashion digitally.”

Demand for metaverse fashion growing, but mistrust about the longevity of items sold remains

The research adds that 31 percent of Gen Z shoppers said they wanted to dress their digital avatars as the main reason for purchasing NFTs, with a further 23 percent saying they wanted to be just as "well dressed" digitally as they were in the real world.

As the metaverse becomes a reality, 39 percent of UK shoppers across all age groups believed digital avatars will become the norm within the next two years, while 44 percent said this would take longer to normalise, saying widespread adoption would happen in 5 years.

However, Centra does note that while a quarter (27 percent) believed NFTs to be the future of fashion, there remains an element of mistrust about the longevity of fashion sold within the metaverse among UK shoppers. Findings reveal that 29 percent said they thought fashion NFTs were a fad that would pass, while 25 percent didn’t trust NFTs.

A further quarter (24 percent) thought NFTs were simply a gimmick used by fashion brands to sell more ‘things’ to shoppers.

Jensen added: “Consumers are demanding more and more immersive experiences online to the extent that they want to replicate their personality and appear ‘in person’ in the digital world.

“This presents an significant opportunity for brands to get closer to their customers to understand what they want and how they want it, but that needs to be delivered alongside a metaverse offer that is compelling and that stands the test of time, so it doesn’t just become flash in the fashion pan.”

Digital Fashion
Gen Z