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App Annie data shows brands embrace in-app gamification as experiential shopping takes over

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According to App Annie, a leading mobile data and analytics company, brands are finding that in-app gaming experiences are a successful form of monetization.

For example, Louis Vuitton announced in-game skins for League of Legends in 2019, which proved to be a popular cosmetic item for gamers — elevating brand visibility in the online games.

Brands are embracing partnerships with popular mobile games to create interactive experiences, reach new audiences and revamp their strategies to engage consumers. Gamers downloaded around a billion titles every week in Q1 2021, while total consumer spend on gaming hit $22 billion in the quarter.

Brands are looking to attract millennials and Gen Z with a mobile-first mentality by making shopping a more enjoyable, interactive experience.

High-end designer take overs

  • Louis Vuitton’s efforts to reach a younger mobile-engaged demographic appear to be working. Among a selected group of luxury fashion retailers, Louis Vuitton’s app saw the most downloads worldwide during the pandemic (Jan 2020 – Mar 2021), with a spike in August 2020 of more than 120,000 downloads.
  • Burberry is another brand that recently developed in-game character skin-designs. The brand developed unique outfit designs for Honour of Kings — the #1 game by global consumer spend in 2021 — through a partnership with Tencent-owned developer TiMi Studios.
  • Another way brands are embracing gaming is through their own in-app gamified experiences. For example, Gucci, which has an arcade element included in its app, ranked #2 for worldwide downloads among a selection of luxury retail apps during the pandemic (Jan 2020 – Mar 2021). Based on cross-app usage, this gamification strategy likely helped support growth.
  • Other brands, such as PUMA, are partnering in the gaming arena through sponsorships of e-sports. As of July 2020, PUMA struck a multi-year contract with Gen.G. Similar to traditional sports, PUMA is positioning itself as a major global sponsor spanning North America, Europe and Asia with 5 teams under its sponsorship. According to Forbes, the aggregate value of the top 10 esports teams surpassed $2.4 billion in Dec 2020, which is particularly impressive given headwinds from limitations for live events during COVID-19.

“Gamification within shopping apps will continue to rise as the industry continues to get back to normal and mobile gaming grows in popularity,” says Lexi Sydow, Head of Marketing Insights, App Annie. “Gamers downloaded around a billion titles every week in Q1, while total consumer spend on gaming hit $22 billion. With more games being released and brands constantly pivoting to stay relevant, incorporating gaming into their mobile experiences or partnering with popular gaming developers is one way to stand out.”

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