Customer acquisition and CRO

How many Gen Zers spend money on virtual items when gaming

Young female holding a games controller
Written by
Victoria Owen
Published on
September 1, 2022
Last updated
June 3, 2024

What this article covers

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Minecraft, Roblox, and Genshin Impact are just a few of the games that are all the craze with Gen Z, and since the pandemic video games have become more popular than ever before. But how much of this is transferring into the real world, and are Gen Zers actually spending their hard-earned cash on in-game items?

Well, in short: yes. As we shared in our Youth Trends Report, 65% of Gen Z have spent money on virtual items within a game, and with 87% of Gen Z playing video games on their phone or other consoles, this is a huge demographic who are willing to part with their cash. In fact, so many members of Gen Z enjoy gaming that it’s beginning to become this generation’s main source of entertainment, overtaking traditional forms of media like TV shows and movies. 

Which games are Gen Z playing?

As we reported in our UK Youth Trends Report, the most popular are Minecraft (76%), Call of Duty (73%) and Fortnite (68%), with Roblox and Animal Crossing also making an appearance. As well as spending money on customisable items (we’ll talk more about this later), gaming is also a great way for young people to socialise, whether that be by watching concerts and other in-game events (50% have admitted to doing this) or simply interacting with one another when they don’t feel like catching up IRL (which was, of course, a massive factor during the height of the pandemic). 86% of Fortnite gamers have played with their friends, and a huge 53% of Roblox gamers have made new friends on the platform.

Spending money on virtual items

Video games allow a level of personalization and interaction that traditional media does not, and Fortnite has been particularly successful at tapping into young people’s desire for personalization. Whilst the game is free, customization items such as new skins or gliders have to be purchased. These items are purely aesthetic and don’t change gameplay at all, yet Fortnite made more than $9 billion in its first two years, proving the effectiveness of its business model. Meanwhile, food brand Chiptole took their annual Halloween campaign into the metaverse last year and used the money raised by in-game purchases to support a charity, whilst Coca-Cola launched their Lootbox campaign which was packed full of NFTs and other metaverse-related goodies, which sold for a significant $560,000.

Together, these success stories show that Gen Zers do really want to interact with brands and don’t mind spending money on things that aren’t physical thanks to the sense of connection that it can bring them. Our advice? Look into NFTs and consider something similar for your brand - who knows what you could come up with!

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