11 of the fastest-growing industries in virtual worlds.

2024 so far has seen a record-breaking number of brand activations in virtual worlds like Roblox and Fortnite. In the first week of February alone, there were over 21 brand-owned experiences and 9 integrations that launched across the platforms that GEEIQ tracks. 

It’s no longer just specific industries, like Fashion & Apparel, hosting brand activations in virtual worlds. Across industries, leading brands are investing in gaming. From McDonald’s and Walmart to the NFL and Paris Hilton, brands of every type are entering this virtual race. 

However, some industries are growing faster than others. The lack of data transparency on gaming platforms, as opposed to traditional marketing channels, means it’s difficult to know what brands are succeeding within this space, but there are ways to gauge this.

This article ranks the fastest-growing industries in virtual worlds and highlights the key players within each industry.* Using GEEIQ data, we will cover brands that have recently activated in each industry and compare these to GEEIQ’s previous predictions for growth by 2025 (State of Virtual Brand Experiences Part I). 

Read until the end of the article to find out how your brand can find and benchmark against your competitors in this space. 👇

Charity & Nonprofit organizations in virtual worlds like Roblox have grown 191% in just over a year. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

1. Charity & Nonprofit Organization – 191% growth 

The number of charities that have launched activations within virtual worlds has grown by over 191% in just over a year. In fact, in Q4 2023, a record-breaking 10 activations were launched by the likes of Compassion International, Red Cross France and SOS Amazônia.  

Gaming platforms like Roblox offer charities the ability to educate younger audiences in an immersive format about key issues ranging from Alzheimer’s to the refugee crisis. They’re a new platform where these organizations can raise awareness for their causes. 

Brand to watch: Comic Relief

Comic Relief’s ‘Solarpunk Simulator’ on Roblox has had 5.89 million visits so far and a high approval rating of 94%. Launched in March 2023, the experience depicts a world where humans, technology and nature exist in harmony. Players help aliens build a spaceship and they also interact with celebrities, including a virtual Jack Black. By creating a free experience that teaches kids about collaboration, leadership, and empowerment, Comic Relief hopes to break the cycle of poverty and offer kids training in areas they may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about. 

The number of Consumer Goods brands in gaming has increased by 178% in just over a year. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

2. Consumer Goods – 178% growth 

The consumer goods industry has grown substantially within virtual worlds in the past two years. It has already exceeded the 30% growth that GEEIQ predicted in its last report, The State of Virtual Experiences Part I.

Brands in this industry can skillfully leverage user-generated content (UGC) to introduce adult-oriented products, like Dettol or Tide detergent, to younger audiences on platforms like Roblox and Fortnite. By incorporating these everyday items into fun mini-games and digital collectibles, consumer goods brands are connecting with the next generation of consumers in a more engaging, playful way.

Brand to watch: BIC

BIC kicked off 2024 strong with the launch of its Roblox brand activation, DrawPlanet. This has attracted over 1 million visitors in two months, a figure that’s on the rise with the continual release of free UGC items. That makes it the fourth most visited Consumer Goods brand activation of all time. Like Procter & Gamble, BIC has invested in gaming across platforms, including the creation of BICVERSE in Fortnite. In this way, the brand can connect with younger audiences regardless of which digital world or device they prefer. 

Media & Entertainment brands in virtual worlds like Fortnite have grown 169%. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

3. Media & Entertainment – 169% growth 

Last year in 2023, Media & Entertainment overtook Fashion & Apparel with its number of new virtual brand activations. This growth outperformed most data-driven predictions from last year. Retrospectively, it is clear that movies, TV shows, and celebrity brands easily lend themselves to gaming platforms due to their entertaining content. There’s a huge metaverse business opportunity for TV and film to tap into wider audiences. 

Brand to watch: Elton John 

In 2022, GEEIQ-subscriber Elton John held one of the most highly-rated concerts the platform had seen to date, ‘Beyond the Yellow Brick Road’, with an 87% approval rating and 2.74 million visits. 

The reason this experience was so successful is it put data and the Roblox community at the heart of its strategy. The experience offered fans unique experiences like trying on Elton John’s iconic outfits and featuring their avatars in a real-world concert. Elton John even launched a ‘Heart Skip’ emote, now the best-selling branded emote on Roblox. 

Tom von Simson, the Account Manager at GEEIQ who worked closely with Elton John’s team, spoke to why Roblox was their platform of choice: 


Elton John: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road’ experience, not only allowed Roblox users to discover and connect with Elton’s timeless music in a new way through gamification but also to experience Elton’s impact on pop culture, especially through his iconic fashion looks. The goal was to cement his legacy virtually.

The number of Sports, Health, & Fitness companies on gaming platforms has grown 250% since 2023. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

4. Sports, Health, & Fitness – 103% growth 

With the industry’s focus on entertainment and competition, it is easy for sports organisations, gyms, and fitness brands to create fun virtual brand activations. Sports brands can also easily translate real-world partnerships into the virtual world, for example, with virtual concerts. Gaming is a new marketing channel where these brands can gather more audience insights and reward loyal fans to boost retention. 

Brand to watch:  NFL 

The NFL’s innovative approach to engaging with fans through Roblox for the Superbowl celebration showcases a dynamic strategy to connect with younger audiences. Released in February 2023, its main Roblox experience, Super NFL Tycoon, allows fans to build an NFL empire. It has so far garnered over 18.85 million visitors. This year, the sports organization took its Superbowl leadup to the next level by creating an event within Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Simulator. This led to a 22% (1.9 million) increase in players on Spongebob Simulator from the week before the event’s launch to after. 

By continuously releasing new Roblox experiences as well as new updates within existing experiences, the NFL can expand the reach of one of the world’s most iconic sports events and refresh its brand presence.

Financial companies in gaming have increased 100% since early 2023. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

5. Financial – 100% growth

It might be surprising, but financial companies are also building gaming strategies. Platforms like Roblox are being leveraged to educate the next generation on financial management and build trust with future customers. Barclays has even dedicated a segment of its business to supporting Gaming and Creative Teams, illustrating the financial sector’s commitment to connecting with younger audiences. 

Brand to watch: Fidelity Investments

Targeting potential young investors, Fidelity Investments released ‘Pancake Empire Tower Tycoon’ on Roblox to teach kids the basics of investing. Players are encouraged to win ‘YumYums’ that they can either spend on building a pancake tower or deposit with characters, mirroring the risk associated with real investments.

Combining both education and entertainment, ‘Pancake Empire Tower Tycoon’ has attracted a consistent monthly visitor count of around 400,000 players. Consistent updates featuring new mini-games mean players keep coming back, building a loyal base for those who might want to invest with Fidelity in the future.

Personal Care & Cosmetics brands in virtual worlds have grown 96% since Q1 2023. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

6. Personal Care & Cosmetics – 96% growth

Personal Care & Cosmetics brands have been creating virtual experiences for some time. However, with the rise of AR filters and increasingly sophisticated brand offerings of platforms like Roblox, the number of brands in this space is set to skyrocket. These platforms enable brands to drive around 8.5x more engagement than social media. For example, NIVEA’s Tower Run on Roblox just reached 1.1 million visits and over 11 years’ worth of brand engagement time. Additionally, in time for the Apple Vision Pro Release, the number of brands investing in 3D virtual shops like Obsess or Emperia has doubled in the past 2 years. These include shops by Unilever, E.L.F. Beauty, and NIVEA. All in all, this indicates a promising future for Personal Care & Cosmetics virtual brand activations. 

Brand to watch: L’Oréal Paris

L’Oréal Paris has led the charge when it comes to innovative gaming activations on Roblox. Most recently, they integrated into Livetopia to launch the virtual counterpart to their real-world ‘Stand Up against street harassment’ campaign. This collaboration with a popular existing experience on Roblox allowed them to offer players online training about how to safely react when witnessing street harassment. 

The number of branded integrations in gaming has risen 110% in the past year. They allow brands to enter an experience without investing too much in marketing or a long-term, persistent campaign. 

Manon Cardiel, Global Head of Strategic Planning & Partnerships at L’Oreal Group, explained why the brand has often leveraged integrations as a route to activation in gaming: 


We approach gaming in a very campaign-focused way. It’s important to have a first win with brands because investing in gaming is a shift in terms of marketing and in terms of strategy. We need to have proof that participation is the new attention when we are comparing this to traditional social media.

Integrations offer that proof.

As of Q1 2024, Retail brands in virtual worlds has grown 90%. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

7. Retail – 90% growth 

2023 and 2024 have seen even the oldest retailers in the world, like Harrods or Macy’s, embrace virtual brand activations. Their diverse range of products translates well into partnerships with UGC content creators and online collaborations with brands they already partner with offline. A prime example is the ‘Burberry at Harrods’ experience on Roblox. Virtual worlds have become a strategic asset for both high-end and mainstream retailers to foster brand loyalty among consumers. 

Brand to watch: Walmart

Walmart Discovered is one of the most visited branded activations on Roblox, with over 19 million visitors. What makes it unique? Rather than being ‘just a game’, this experience allows users to find the most popular experiences on Roblox and navigate to them. The experience also lets avatars try on UGC items created by over 300 different content creators, offering players a similar service to their real-world stores. 

“It’s not a traditional game loop that you see many other brands utilise,” explains Barney Lynch, Account Director at GEEIQ who has worked with brands entering virtual worlds, including Walmart. He added: 


At its heart, Walmart Discovered is a utility that facilitates discovery on the platform (of UGC, of creators, of experiences). Walmart identified a unique value offering that was ownable for their brand – improving discoverability on the platform. No other brand had done this and it wouldn’t necessarily make sense for most, if any, to do so.

You can hear why Justin Breton, Director of Brand Experiences & Strategic Partnerships at Walmart, began investing in Roblox in the video below.



Justin Breton, Director of Branded Experiences & Strategic Partnerships at Walmart, explains why Walmart invested in gaming on Roblox.

The number of Toys & Collectibles brands investing in gaming has increased by 90%. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

8. Toys & Collectibles – 90% growth 

Given the younger demographics that are on platforms like Roblox, these virtual worlds are attractive to the Toys & Collectibles brands that have activated within them. Collectible items in particular easily translate into UGC items that players focus on winning. Despite this, there are fewer than 40 Toys & Collectibles brands active in this space, leaving ample room for the number of these activations to grow.

Brand to watch: Hello Kitty 

My Hello Kitty Café has over 377 million total visits to its experience on Roblox, with a high 96% approval rating. Since its release in April 2022, this activation has received an average of 15.74 million monthly visits, likely due to its regular free UGC drops and new events. Sanrio Inc., the company behind the Hello Kitty brand, also incorporated its other popular characters into the experience, including Pompompurin, Cinnamoroll, and Keroppi. This is a great example of a brand offering its players a wide variety of rewards in exchange for engagement.

Since Q1 2023, the number of Food & Drink brands in virtual worlds has grown by 90%. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

9. Food & Drink – 90% growth 

Food has a long history in gaming, dating back to power-ups in the 1980s hit, Pac-Man. Yet, most Food & Drink companies have been slow to embrace virtual worlds, preferring esports or console-specific collaborations. Ultimately, with the decline of consoles and the rise of free-to-play, top brands going into the latter will win in the long run. Gen-Z’s most magnetic brands, McDonalds, Starbucks and Chipotle, have all already activated in virtual worlds. 

Brand to watch: Chipotle

Chipotle is one of Gen-Z’s favorite brands and its team are experts at delivering the content its fans demand. This includes creating the ‘Chipotle Burrito Builder’ experience on Roblox after Chipotle fans compared the complexity of burrito building to playing video games. In the experience, players can complete mini-games and challenges to earn ‘Burrito Bucks’ that can buy them real-life Chipotle rewards, like a free burrito. 

Since it launched its gamer strategy in 2019, Chipotle has explored phygital marketing campaigns on platforms ranging from Twitch to Fortnite to Roblox to online esports competitions. These cross-platform activations showcase the brand’s prowess in engaging its audience across their favourite digital platforms, solidifying its status as a leading Food & Drink brand in this space.   

With brrands like Hyundai, Honda, and Mclaren entering the space, the number of automotive brands in virtual worlds has grown by 65% from Jan 2023 to Q1 2024. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

10. Automotive – 65% growth 

There is no shortage of popular racing games out there, with the top three Roblox automotive games having a total of over one billion visits. Automotive brands have often leveraged virtual worlds to launch new cars or offer audiences the ability to drive different types of cars and achieve parkour feats they could not in the real world. These sorts of feats are what make virtual worlds so appealing to the racing and automotive industry. 

Brand to watch: McLaren

McLaren’s approach on Roblox was strategic, integrating portals to connect users from three top driving games on the platform. This virtual experience allowed gamers to immerse themselves as F1 icons Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Not only did this leverage the popular McLaren brand it also boosted engagement, as the experience has garnered 6.69 million visits. This approach exemplifies how targeted experiences that capitalize off of iconic IPs can amplify brand presence and user satisfaction in virtual worlds.

The number of Fashion & Apparel brands in virtual worlds has only grown by 51% since Q1 2023. Source: GEEIQ’s branded activation timeline.

11. Fashion & Apparel – 51% growth 

Fashion & Apparel was one of the first sectors to move into this space. It embraced virtual worlds fully and has now reaped the rewards. GEEIQ-subscriber Gucci, for example, held some of their first virtual activations in February 2021. They understood the value of this space. Now, other industries are playing catchup. 

Since most major brands within Fashion & Apparel have moved into the space, their growth rate is set to plateau in comparison to newer industries. Nevertheless, fashion remains a key industry in virtual worlds, with leading brands leveraging gaming platforms to forge valuable connections with audiences that have disposable income. 

Brand to watch: Tommy Hilfiger 

Tommy Hilfiger’s Roblox venture, Tommy Play, just reached 50 million visits. This affirms the GEEIQ subscriber’s position as an undisputed leader amongst brands in virtual worlds. It is a testament to the brand’s ability to build a loyal community, boost engagement and tap into new audiences in creative ways. 

We spoke to Harrison Gutteridge, Senior Account Manager at GEEIQ who worked on Tommy Hilfiger’s virtual activations, about why the brand decided to invest in the platform: 


Tommy Play allowed new audiences to experience the brand in a way that had never been done before. Tommy’s fashion show on Roblox enabled a new generation of potential customers to engage with the brand in a social space that was native to them. Now, players can dress their avatars in Tommy Hilfiger without the limitations of reality.

How to find your competitors in the virtual world

Some data platforms allow you to search for your industry-specific competitors within virtual worlds and gaming platforms. Using GEEIQ’s competitor analysis tools, you can analyze the engagement statistics of every virtual world experience to benchmark against your competitors across platforms. You cana lso find what developers and influencers they are partnering with. Help your team get ahead using comprehensive, easy-to-digest, live competitor data. 

Key takeaway

Video games are the new battleground for big brands and this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, brands across industries are set to keep entering the gaming arena. Whether it’s a retail giant like Walmart or a major beauty brand like L’Oréal Paris, key players are using this new marketing channel to meet younger audiences where they are, deliver value to them, and build a loyal community of future consumers.

In the words of Charles Hambro, GEEIQ’s CEO & Co-founder: 


The data is clear. Brands entering the virtual landscape has been growing quarter on quarter, and continues to set new records, with over 700 brands and 1000 activations at the end of Q4 2023. With no signs of decline, brands are continuing to double down on this opportunity.

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