State of play: why beauty is struggling to break into gaming

By Amanda Pauley 18-Jul-2023

Beauty-gaming collaborations have been levelling up, but do these partnerships actually increase sales and help brands reach new audiences?

Why not all beauty-gaming partnerships are a match made in heaven

Why not all beauty-gaming partnerships are a match made in heaven

With the global gaming industry forecasted to be worth an astounding US$321bn by 2026, according to analyst PwC, it is no wonder that beauty has been dipping its toes into the sector at an unprecedented rate. 

These collaborations have covered everything from gaming-themed product collections like Revolution Beauty’s Fortnite range to Givenchy’s pop-up space on gaming platform Roblox.

Plus, with beauty giant L’Oréal launching bespoke looks on avatar platform Ready Player One, beauty-gaming collaborations have been levelling up over the past year like never before.

Currently more than a third (39%) of beauty fans play video games, found market analyst GWI, and Statista has estimated that there will be around 3.1 billion global gamers by 2027.

Meanwhile, 37% of visitors to gaming Subreddits (communities on Reddit) are also women, so beauty’s attempt to break into the market makes sense.

The gaming industry knows how to call out bullshit. We know when something is real and when something is just a cash grab
– Stephanie Ijoma, CEO of NNESAGA

However, despite these activations making a statement about gaming’s power, there is no wider data to show whether these collaborations are actually helping beauty brands reach new audiences and secure sales.

NARS, Maybelline and e.l.f. Beauty all failed to provide data on the success rate of their gaming campaigns when asked by Cosmetics Business.

“Beauty brands tend to not share those details because they do not want it to seem like it has not worked,” says Jay-Ann Lopez, founder of Black Girl Gamers, a multi-platform LGBTQIA+-inclusive online gaming community. 

“But what I can say is that the collaborations with the highest return on investment are the ones that genuinely connect with gamers.”

So, is beauty authentically infiltrating gaming and reaping the rewards, or is the trend just overhyped?

One of the virtual brand ambassadors in NARS Power Players campaign

One of the virtual brand ambassadors in NARS Power Players campaign

The state of the beauty-gaming landscape

“Beauty brands now see that there is this whole other demographic that has a love for beauty and money to spend,” says Stephanie Ijoma, CEO of NNESAGA, a gaming consultancy firm that champions diversity.  

“However, a lot...

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