“If you create a good product and a unique product, they will buy it. It just has to be something different. It has to be high quality.”Rocky Savio, chief merchandising officer for the Atlanta FaZe via ESPN
The convergence of fashion and esports is gaining steam. With non-endemic brand partnerships, ranging from high fashion (Louis Vuitton) to athletic wear (Champion), serving notice that the momentum is real.
As a result, the business of esports merchandise is positioned to grow in 2020 and beyond. However, effective commercialization depends on understanding the following about competitive video game audiences:
- Key influencers
- Purchase motivators
- Consumer values
Towards that end, let’s take a data-driven look at three esports merchandise best practices.
Note: Esports merchandise shoppers refers to fans who bought or expressed interest in buying competitive gaming related merchandise within the last calendar year.
FaZe Clan Crossover
Approach: FaZe Clan’s exclusive collections with popular non-esports influencers – rapper Kiari Kendrell Cephus (Offset) of the hip-hop trio Migos and content creator Austin “Pamaj” Pamajewon.
Reality: Among esports merchandise shoppers, the top 10 social influencers have zero official affiliation with professional esports. The same holds for 8 of the top 10 social influencers within FaZe Clan’s audience.
Results: Influencer marketing reaches beyond core (niche) esports audiences. Plus, 82% of FaZe Clan fans are very likely to prefer quality when buying clothes – meaning they are ideal consumers for exclusive merchandise drops.
Puma and Cloud9
Approach: Unique Puma/Cloud9 merchandise lines, styled for male and female fans.
Reality: Only 17% of female esports fans are very likely to be influenced by brand name when making purchases.
Results: Individual product lines build brand equity within specific audience segments. They also target gender-specific consumer needs. For example, 83% of female esports fans are very likely to prefer style when buying clothes vs. 73% among esports merchandise shoppers.
Approach: NYXL, New York’s Overwatch League (OWL) team, offering 30+ team t-shirts.
Reality: 68% of OWL fans are very likely to prefer comfort when buying clothes vs. 50% of esports merchandise shoppers.
Results: AndBox, NYXL’s parent company, is focused on merging local (city) and global (digital) culture into a recognizable team brand. T-shirts, a universal fashion staple, are an ideal cross-culture vehicle, which also align with OWL fans’ demand for comfortable wear.
All non-attributed insights are generated by eSports iQ and based on the social data (English speaking) of:
- 5,000+ esports merchandise shoppers
- 10,000+ Faze Clan fans
- 3,000+ female esports fans
- 10,000+ Overwatch League fans