Consumers are spending more time and money online than ever before. V-commerce or virtual commerce is business that takes place in the virtual realm on gaming platforms. Covid-19 has accelerated the trajectory of gaming and innovative businesses have taken their operations there instead of waiting for the world to recover from the pandemic.
There are currently 2.7 billion gamers across the globe, representing 35% of the human population. In 2019, South Africa’s 20.3 million gamers spent $210 million on games – up 9.4% year on year. 2020 figures are, in all likelihood, higher. This is clearly a space that’s experiencing a meteoric rise and the digital native generation Gen Z, whose members are at ease with the virtual world, will increasingly return to this space as they get older.
In June last year the French Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode hosted an online event – a virtual fashion show – where characters of the popular Nintendo game, Animal Crossing walked the runway in Balenciaga, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and other prestigious brand’s designs.
Around the same time last year, South Africa’s Curro school learners competed in an online Minecraft tournament. In the month before the finals, which were livestreamed, children between the ages of 9 and 14 formed teams and competed against one another. “During lockdown, esports became an amazing opportunity because learners couldn’t connect via traditional sports or clubs. The online world of Minecraft creates a perfect digital environment for learners to collaborate and play,” says Angela Schaerer, technology business relationships manager at Curro.
Fortnite developer Epic Games, an American video game and software developer, has purchased the Cary Towne Center in Cary, North Carolina, for $95m and plans to turn the abandoned mall into the company’s global headquarters. The place is massive: Epic is clearly confident in the growth possibilities of V-commerce. As of August last year, the company was valued at $17.3 billion.
The gaming arena is flourishing and businesses who ignore this space, will be missing out on the enormous business potential of reaching this gigantic market segment.
How has your business ventured into the virtual realm?
What can your business do to access this lucrative market?
By Faeeza Khan
Image credit: Lego/CNET