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People are still just getting accustomed to the idea that a metaverse — the term used in Silicon Valley for virtual worlds — even exists.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley say there’s scope for luxury goods makers to sell virtually as they do physically — and say the market could be as large as €50 billion, or $57 billion at current exchange rates, by 2030. That could lift revenue by more than 10%, and industry earnings before interest and tax by 25%.

Analysts led by Edward Stanley point out that one in five gamers in Roblox change their avators daily. “Image is everything in virtual experiences,” they say.

Balenciaga, a unit of Kering KER, +4.87%, in September started selling “skins” in the popular game Fortnite at 1,000 V bucks, which they say is equivalent to about $8. Gucci, also part of Kering, sold a digital version of its Dionysus bag on Roblox RBLX, -1.30% for 350,000 Robux, or about $4,100 — which was more expensive than the real-life bag that costs $3,400.

Social gaming could add between $10 billion and $20 million to the total addressable market for luxury goods.

There’s also the market for non-fungible tokens. Dolce & Gabbana sold 9 NFTs for $5.7 million, which the Morgan Stanley analysts say demonstrates the huge potential for virtual and hybrid luxury goods. Luxury digital/hybrid collectibles could be a $25 billion segment of a $300 billion NFT market by 2030, the Morgan Stanley analysts say.

For the analysts, the big kicker is just how much of that revenue flows through to profitability. Unit product costs are very low and distribution costs are minimal. For example, NFT platform OpenSea has a take rate of about 2.5%, which compares to between 15% and 40% on platforms such as Alibaba’s BABA, +1.59% TMall or Farfetch FTCH, -2.21%. Plus, smart contracts allow the creator of NFT to capture a percentage of the sale price each time it’s sold, unlike in the physical world where they only get a cut of the initial sale.

The analysts say the soft luxury brands selling ready-to-wear, leather goods and shoes are better placed to hard luxury providers such as jewellery and watch makers to profit from virtual demand.

Separately, Kering was upped to buy from hold at HSBC, on hopes for its Gucci arm. “The long awaited Aria collection has now been live since late September with many product initiatives and marketing events in the pipe, such as pop-up stores (25-30 in total); a capsule collection for the 100th anniversary of Gucci, with related pop-up stores in key cities (London, Milan, Berlin and Paris); the hacking project with Balenciaga and much more,” said analysts led by Anna-Laure Bismuth.

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.21% rose 0.3%, after ending Monday at a record high and rising for four straight sessions. The index is up 23% this year, and if it closes higher on Tuesday, would set its 46th record high of the year.

Vodafone Group VOD, +6.49% shares rallied 7% as the European mobile operator lifted its full-year profit and cash flow guidance.

Jeronimo Martins JMT, -11.43% shares tumbled 11% after the holding group Asteck sold its entire 5% stake in the Portuguese food retailer.

Source: This post first appeared on http://marketwatch.com/

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