Companies that want to attract the next generation of customers do so via virtual reality headsets, according to the chief strategy officer of the South Korean avatar app Zepeto.

Investment in the “Metaverse” – a shared virtual reality space where individuals can interact with other users in a digital environment – is increasing in industries that include food and beverage, retail and music, Rudy Lee said on Wednesday opposite CNBC.

Companies are coming to position themselves for longer-term technology trends, he said.

Zepeto, backed by South Korean Internet service provider Naver, saw increased demand from corporate partners this year, Lee said. There are currently around 100 companies using the platform to promote their brands to their 200 million users, he added.

If these people invest in the Metaverse through us … they want to have a long-term presence here

“When these people, through us, invest in the Metaverse, they’re not doing it with an outlook of six months or a year. They want to be here for the long term,” he said.

In particular, corporate partners see Zepeto as a means to target Gen Z consumers. The six- to 24-year-old cohort makes up more than 80% of users who create personalized characters and pay for virtual tokens on the platform, Lee said.

Two medical professionals wear masks as they witness VR games during the 3rd World Health Exposition in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China on April 8, 2021.

Getty Images | Getty Images News

“I think companies looking at both this demographic and future perspective are definitely looking at this from a very long-term perspective,” he noted.

Virtual reality platforms have long offered visions of how consumers can interact in the future. However, Lee said the pandemic had further exacerbated existing technology trends and made those ambitions more realistic.

“I think it (the pandemic) has had a lasting impact on the way we look at virtual things,” Lee said.

“The general consensus is that this time around,” he continued. “Certainly due to Covid and the impact it has on the way we interact with each other. Also the general rise of 5G mobile games. I think all of these factors make for a very robust environment for us.”