I have wanted to take the opportunity for this week’s piece to pivot away from inflation for a moment and discuss a topic that is coming up often enough it bears sharing some observations.
A colleague recently asked an ecommerce executive at a marquis luxury brand, “What topic would you most like to know more about?” The response was quick.
“The metaverse. It’s on everyone’s mind,” they said. “It’s the hot new thing. But what will it look like? For example, what does it mean for in-store versus online sales?”
For most retailers, the metaverse is a fuzzy, mind-bending concept that is hard to define. But experts promise that it will one day mean everything.
For now, roughly half of US consumers know little to nothing about the metaverse.
If they’ve heard of it, likely it was last summer, 2021, when Facebook rebranded its corporate self as Meta. Overnight, the metaverse (also referred to as Web3) became a “thing” — the next frontier in retail branding and marketing.
The metaverse is not a thing, of course. It is an imaginary (virtual) world currently populated mostly by young gamers who spend hours in front of a screen or wearing a headset while creating and playing games with other young gamers around the world.
And it’s huge. Roblox, a leading game platform, currently reports that every day more than 20 million players use it, and the average monthly player count is more than 210 million.