How long until the metaverse reaches mainstream appeal? – RetailWire

May 04, 2022

Recent surveys since Facebook changed its name to Meta last November have found consumers have some interest in virtual experiences, including shopping, but that the metaverse concept remains foggy.

Strong interest has been seen around virtual travel, such as sightseeing tours, as well as seeing live music and sporting events virtually. A Morning Consult survey found 44 percent of U.S. consumers would like to create an avatar to represent them in the metaverse, with 31 percent wanting to buy virtual items for their character.

An Accenture survey of consumers across 16 countries found 42 percent had visited a retailer in the virtual world to get advice, make a payment or browse a product range when shopping for a physical item, while 56 percent of respondents plan to do so in the next year.

“In addition to new opportunities to sell, the metaverse can also help build loyalty through experiences that go beyond just buying a product,” said Jill Standish, global head of Accenture’s Retail industry group, in a statement. “For instance, retailers can create a personalized experience by offering a live-stream shopping event where customers can sit next to a brand ambassador, and then immediately be able to step into a virtual dressing room where they can try something on, add it to their cart, and check out.”

Nonetheless, a study by CommerceNext found the wide majority of U.S. consumers had little knowledge of the metaverse and only 18 percent wanted to engage with virtual worlds at all.

A survey of U.S. and U.K. consumers from automated insights platform Zappi found 69 percent had heard of the metaverse, but 55 percent claim they don’t understand what it means and only six percent were “extremely familiar” with the concept. According to respondents, the metaverse’s most significant appeal lies in gaming and socializing.

Ryan Barry, president at Zappi, said in a press release, “We saw a similar reluctance in the early days of online shopping on web 1.0, which indicates the need for brands to show what experiences in this virtual new world might look like, introduce clear propositions and demonstrate how consumers might benefit from the metaverse.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Where do you see the metaverse catching on initially? How confident are you that shopping and other everyday activities will become integral within the metaverse?

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“What’s critical here is to know this is important but to distinguish hype from sensible predictions.”

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