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What does gaming have to do with the beauty industry

Suzanne Scott
17th November 2020

The gaming industry presents an exciting and mostly untapped audience for your brand to engage with.

  • 82% of global consumers played video games and watched video game content during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns

  • With many of us confined to our homes, we’re living vicariously through video games and this presents a huge opportunity for engagement 

  • Women make up almost half of the audience playing and watching games

To say the world is a little crazy right now would be an understatement. Globally we’re living with a kind of surreal uncertainty which possibly explains why many of us are looking for escapism via make-believe in some form or another. 

Industry observers Nielsen Book reported sales of fiction novels soared by a third during the first lockdown, with two in five adults in the UK admitting to reading more during the crisis, and the BBC reports that Waterstones saw a 400% increase in week-on-week sales online. While, according to Ofcom, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Now TV and Disney+ viewing times also went through the roof with adults in the UK spending on average six hours and 25 minutes a day in front of their screens. Having more time on our hands certainly accounts for some of this but there is likely a more complex reason behind our urgency for escapism. 

Like books and TV, gaming is seeing a meteoric surge in popularity. New research from Nielsen found that 82% of global consumers played video games and watched video game content during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns. The increase was highest in the U.S. (46%), followed by France (41%), the U.K. (28%) and Germany (23%).

So, yes we’re racking up the hours playing COD and Animal Crossing but what opportunities does this offer the beauty industry, if any? The truth is, with many of us confined to our homes, we’re living vicariously through video games and this in itself presents a huge opportunity for engagement.

Beauty x Gaming

Some beauty brands are already tapping into the enraptured gaming crowd. Japanese beauty brand Tatcha reimagined the city of Kyoto as a virtual eutopia for Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing. To celebrate the launch of the brand’s new Rice Wash Cleanser (desperate to try, BTW), Tatcha partnered with activewear brand Alo Yoga and Nook Street Market, to create custom clothes for the game. In Tatchaland, players are able to organically interact with the brand by visiting a spa, tea room and a bamboo forest, and even win a sample of the cleanser by taking part in a scavenger hunt. 

“Women make up almost half of the audience watching and playing games” - Lisa Li, global digital marketing director, Benefit Cosmetics

Tatcha isn’t the only brand to go all in on Animal Crossing. Fans of the game can also get their hands on Glossier’s constant-sell-out pink hoodie for their avatar by popping to Nook Street Market, while also sampling Givenchy’s Prisme Libre powder and Le Rouge lipstick. 

The action isn’t only happening at Animal Crossing. MAC has teamed up with The Sims 4. MAC’s director of makeup artistry, Romero Jennings, helped to develop 12 makeup looks for Sims. Just because we currently have nowhere to make ourselves fancy for, doesn’t mean our Sims need to look basic.

Gamers are the new influencers

Benefit Cosmetics is approaching the women’s gaming community via a different route. They have partnered with Gen.G, an esports company connecting the U.S and Asia, to produce a video series demonstrating the beauty routines of four professional gamers and streamers. In a press release, Benefit’s global digital marketing director, Lisa Li, said, “After serving women for more than 40-years in the beauty business, we at Benefit know how empowering makeup can be when women use it as a tool for expression, creativity, and self love. Women make up almost half of the audience watching and playing games and we are so excited to share these episodes with both the gaming and beauty communities through this work with Gen.G and these women who are leading the industry forward. To us, putting on your ‘Game Face’ means getting ready to own your day.” 

“The reason I wanted to do Twitch was because I wanted to interact with my audience in a different way, where it wasn’t just them chatting” - Michelle Phan

Introducing Twitch

Streaming platform Twitch allows communities to form around gaming. Essentially, gammers broadcast their games while fans spend hours watching their progress. 

Founder of Em Cosmetics, Michelle Phan, is a Twitch devotee and so for the launch of her new Daydream Cushion foundation, she decided to bring her two passions together. Talking to Glossy, Phan said,  “I have Twitch on pretty much every day. I like to watch it and leave it on in the background while I’m sleeping.” She hosted a livestream playing ‘League of Legends’ during which a bot peppered the chat with a link to purchase the foundation and an advert for the product played during breaks. It was a shrewd move as, according to Glossy, Em Cosmetics Daydream Cushion sold 278% more units on launch day, compared to previous launches, and 17% of revenue and 45% of site traffic that day was generated during the livestream. “The reason I wanted to do Twitch was because I wanted to interact with my audience in a different way, where it wasn’t just them chatting,” Phan told the website. 

This demonstrates that aside from the obvious awareness benefits that comes from associating your brand with a popular game, gammers or gaming site, there are (many, many) sales to be made too.

Talk to the digital marketing specialists

This year has seen a huge shift in how beauty consumers, not only buy their products, but how they interact with brands. It’s an exciting time and gaming is only half the story. From product build to digital content strategies, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with our Managing Editor Suzanne Scott for a chat.

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