Last year, the video game industry was widely documented across the retail sector and how brands were drawing inspiration from this sector when it came to store experiences and boutique design.
Over the last 3 years, the video game industry has increased by half a billion players, making the overall global total 2.7 billion. According to Accenture, by 2023 there is expected to be over 400 million new gamers amongst this growing community. From an opportunity to relax or to socialise with friends, the motivation for gaming has derived from a rich blend of reasons. As such, the video game industry is huge and is showing no signs of slowing down. What’s more, the growth of the industry was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns last year, where 82% of people under government enforced confinements played video games.
Whilst gaming has been growing during the last few years, the retail sector has come under scrutiny in terms of its relevance in entertaining people and being places that provide experience. Where high street stores have come up short and been forced to shut is not because retail stores are dying out, but rather mediocre stores no longer have a space to continue to carry on. In order to be successful, stores and boutique design must offer people moments of escapism, enhanced storytelling and fantasy. The video game industry ticks all of those boxes and provides ripe ground for brands to experiment and take lessons from the sector. In July 2021, we saw Gucci’s latest capsule collection ‘100 Theives’ resonate with eSports fans. The luxury fashion house worked directly with the team at 100 Thieves, in a strategic effort to tap into the global eSports fanbase. Regarding the collaboration, Gucci commented in a press release that the collaboration celebrates their shared values of self-expression and freedom, creating a collection that delivers innovative gaming garments.
However, Gucci is not the only luxury fashion house that is seeking to tap into the video game industry. French house Louis Vuitton collaborated with video game creator Riot Games in order to invite gamers to purchase Louis Vuitton ‘skins’, otherwise known as virtual clothing for player avatars. Creating such collaborations enables customers to channel their creativity and escape their day to day. The worlds of fashion and gaming go hand in hand as they are both platforms for inspiring the imagination.
Yet, it is not just the fashion industry that has been drawing inspiration from the video game industry. Beauty brands are equally as adept as tapping into the world of the imagination and inviting people to be creative and express themselves. Last year, millennial icon Glossier used the game Animal Crossing to promote products. MAC and Givenchy Beauty have also embraced working with the gaming industry by enabling people playing The Sims 4 and Animal Crossing to do the make-up looks for their avatars. Such collaborations last year led Elle to publish a piece exploring the ‘The Rise and Rise of The Beauty Gamer’, inviting readers to put their game faces on and get their beauty fix.
The video game industry provides people with virtual worlds to participate in and they become a new frontier for both the fashion and beauty industry. They have essentially given back an element of control to customers in terms of ownership as they choose if and when they wish to interact with a brand. Whilst video games are experienced through a screen, they captivate their audiences as they are immersive.
As such, when it comes to boutique design, there is an opportunity to continue to bridge the worlds of gaming and beauty together through the store experience. We have already seen a plethora of brands creating cafes, restaurants and beauty salons for luring a customer in to spend more time in the store and getting to understand a brand’s products better. These activities are modes of entertainment that allow people to socialise or relax. The same can be achieved with in store gaming stations that enable people to switch off and meet a friend to game.
According to Luxury Society, embracing the world of video games will not just be a passing trend that was accelerated by the pandemic. Instead, brands focusing on their retail spaces and boutique design could embrace this trend further than the virtual world and bring it into real life experiences, translating it into a long term strategy to market to their customers.
The video game industry could be a goldmine when it comes to generating store experiences of the future and brands can take these lessons and use them within their boutique design. If you are looking to create a retail experience for your brand, get in touch.