When someone you know buys something super expensive, you automatically raise your eyebrows out of surprise, right? Now what happens when you realise that they spent so much money on something which does not even exist in the real world? If you think this is unusual, let us tell you, companies are making millions of dollars thanks to such people who spend real money on virtual commodities.
Gamers have been spending on stickers for avatars since the mid-2000s. But L’Atelier BNP Paribas expects that by 2021, in-game spending on digital assets for avatars will be around $129 billion as opposed to $109 billion in 2019.
Who are these people? Why do they feel it necessary to spend money in the virtual world? We have highlighted 6 major reasons why people are attracted towards virtual accessories. You are about to dive into a pool of insights which will help you understand whom you should reach out to as a brand.
1) Never Seen Before Unique Way Of Self-Expression:
Since the pandemic began, people have been working from their homes. You must have observed some of your colleagues changing their backgrounds virtually on Zoom calls, using some filters to break the monotony, or something else to make their online version a bit more playful. Many look at digital fashion in the same way.
Virtual clothes offer endless possibilities as they clearly do not have to follow the laws of nature and rules of physical fashion. Everyone wants to look good, whether offline or online. More than the looks, it is about how they feel. Digital outfits give people the opportunity to make their fantasies come true and dress up as they have always felt about their personalities, which might be impossible in the real world.
Gala Marjia Vrbanic, the founder and creative director of Tribute, a Croatia-based company specialised in contactless cyber fashion agrees, “We add new things that are impossible in the real world, like new materials – things that just couldn’t function in the real world due to the laws of physics.”
2) Emotional Connection With Their Online Avatars:
Hiroto Kai, a digital artist made $15,000 – $20,000 in just 3 weeks by selling digital kimonos for the users of the virtual world Decentraland. On the same platform, in the first half of 2021, wearable sales volume was around $750,000 which was only $267,000 in the first half of 2020.
To the outside world, it may be just avatars. But for gamers, they are an extension of their real selves. So naturally, they would want their avatars to look like them or even better. It might look absurd to the people who don’t spend too much online or in the gaming world, but there are many who do. Over time, they develop a connection with their avatars and wish to make an identity among other avatars in the online community.
And it’s not just gamers who are so drawn towards their virtual avatars. Zwift, an indoor cycling app, lets its users use the in-game currency so that they can buy biking gear for their virtual selves. These cyclists feel that their digital avatars should be associated with the brands they use in real lives.
3) Promotion of Sustainable Fashion
There is a huge group of people who live their lives on social media. With the pandemic, this number definitely increased. The most popular among those are influencers who by nature of their work, especially fashion bloggers and the likes, find it almost necessary to wear new clothes in every post they share online.
They find digital clothes particularly appealing because they help them wear as many different clothes as they want without causing harm to the environment. If they were to follow the traditional route of buying new clothes for every promotion or shoot, it would mean unnecessary production of clothes which they might never even use again. Paula Sello, co-founder of Auroboros, a digital fashion start-up, validates the idea that virtual outfits could help reduce wastage.
Digital clothes serve the dual purpose of interesting outfits and sustainable fashion. When they wear clothes made by brands who produce cheap clothing by exploiting human labour, they get called out too. So promoting digital fashion gives them an edge over others as well.
Influencer Daria Simonova, said she would definitely purchase more digital wear in the future. She said, “I really love this idea because firstly, it’s environmentally-friendly and secondly, clothing nowadays is more like an art form for social media. Digital clothing is super convenient, and the design potential is huge because it’s way cheaper.”
And it’s not just these influencers. In fact, a 2018 Barclaycard study found that around 9% of the British shoppers purchased outfits only to post photos of them on social media and then returned them. Dress-X’s research also found that 15% of its customers are buying for Instagram posts only and for a quarter of them, this satisfied their urge to buy a new outfit.
4) Promote Slow Fashion But Don’t Lose On Trends And Style
Yes, not like fast fashion where you buy the latest trending outfit and throw it before using them for a decent period. What we mean is, you can still opt for slow fashion without missing the trending outfits thanks to virtual clothes which allow you a quick change of outfit. All you have to do is, send a picture of yourself, select the outfit you want, and get the dress imposed on your picture. And it is ready to be shown to your family, friends, and the whole world! As per Vogue, this entire process gets over within just 3-5 hours! And this is clearly loved by customers as Dress-X reported doubling of sales every month since October 2020.
You can satisfy your fashion cravings instantly without causing any harm to the environment. You might not even use that picture again, but now you can do so without the guilt of harming the health of the environment.
5) No More Boring Clothes On Repeat!
You go out to buy outfits for you and you see every street has outfits which have similar trending patterns. Boring, right? Who wants to be a part of the herd? When you can make a unique identity of yourself with the clothes you wear, why would you want to wear something everyone wears? This is where digital clothes win the game.
Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion said, “With the proliferation of high street stores where everybody is pumping out huge volumes, but every store is the same, it’s made the world very boring. I think the element of exclusivity that you could create through digital clothing is something that could build that desire and actually return a sense of how we used to shop.”
Even though they are digital, many brands release only limited editions so that only a few people have access to that particular design. RTFKT, a virtual sneaker company, is known for selling limited edition NFT sneakers. They have generated $7 million in sales, and also have their limited edition sneakers being auctioned for $10,000 – $60,000. Interesting point to note here is, even though their NFTs can be used to avail free physical shoes, 1 in 20 customers actually do not redeem them.
Similarly, the Tribute brand mentioned that they launch most of their items as limited edition only. For example, their $29 Bala dress will be available for the first 100 people only whereas their $700 Zezy shirt will be digitally reproduced only thrice.
Also with the rise of NFTs, people love having exclusive access to a digital asset. Imani McEwan, a NFT enthusiast from Miami first purchased a bitcoin-themed sweater and then went to buy around 70 NFT wearable items since January, which was worth $15,000 – $16,000. This exclusivity and the desire to stand out from the crowd also attracts many buyers to spend real money on virtual clothes.
6) Interest For Blockchain Technology
This is an interesting set of people, the ones who cannot be missed – the investors. Generally, such investors might not have specific interests towards investing in luxury fashion companies. But they seem to have a liking towards exploring blockchain technology. The eagerness to unlock what’s new and invest in something that seems to be a hit pretty soon encourages investors to invest in virtual or digital assets. Louis Vitton and Nike are few of the brands who have actively started to invest in blockchain technology.
- Digital fashion provides endless possibilities of self-expression, which is not possible in the real world.
- For people investing in virtual accessories for their avatars, they are not just avatars, but an extension of their real selves.
- Influencers find digital clothes appealing as they offer multiple options easily, they are cheaper, and they help in promoting sustainable fashion.
- Acquiring digital outfits is less time consuming, hence preferred by a lot of buyers.
- Buyers are seeking authentic, unique, and exclusive designs, which are possible with virtual clothing.
- Investors are excited about the virtual world because of their keen interest towards blockchain technology.
Now that you know people are ready to pay for good digital apparel, what are you waiting for? Hit us up and let’s make your entry into digital fashion grand! We’ll help you create digital lookbooks, digitise your products, and also invite you to be a part of our virtual marketplace launching soon. Come, be a part of exciting changes in fashion!