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Survey: Are consumers ready for metaverse shopping?

The metaverse is still in very early stages of consumer adoption.

A new survey reveals consumer interest in – and familiarity with – the metaverse as a retail channel.

According to a survey of 2,000 adult U.S. and U.K. consumers from consumer insights data platform Zappi, 85% of respondents don't currently have a desire to interact with their favorite brands or communities via the metaverse, and only one in five (20%) states a desire to shop in the metaverse.

In the metaverse, consumers use augmented and virtual reality technology to digitally engage with each other and their surroundings, with crossovers into the physical world. While seven in 10 respondents (69%) have heard of the metaverse, more than half (55%) say they do not understand what the metaverse is, while only 6% say they are “extremely familiar” with it.

However, more respondents find the metaverse irrelevant (50%) than unappealing (44%). Looking ahead, only 20% of consumers expect to use the metaverse within the next year; while one-third expect to use it within five years, and almost 50% expect to be active in the metaverse within the next decade.

Other interesting findings include:

  • More than half (52%) of respondents don't view the metaverse as a platform to do their daily work and develop their careers.
  • One-third (32%) of respondents are excited about playing games on the metaverse, and 28% support it as a platform to disconnect from the outside world and socialize with loved ones.
  • Almost six in 10 (58%) respondents are interested in the prospect of virtual travel via the metaverse.
  • Isolation and alienation from friends, family and the real world were cited as the biggest barrier to metaverse adoption among respondents (37%), followed by privacy concerns (34%) and monetization of personal information (30%).
  • Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is the brand that consumers trust the least in the context of metaverse technology; trailing Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
  • Enthusiasm and eagerness to join the metaverse are highest among respondents who consider themselves early adopters of technology and have already invested in augmented reality applications, NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

Market research platform Suzy also recently surveyed U.S. consumers about their knowledge and experience surrounding the metaverse, showing a slightly more optimistic outlook for retailers. Results from the Suzy survey indicate that 41% of respondents are interested in connecting with others virtually, while 26% reported feeling neutral and 19% said they were not interested. More than half (52%) of respondents have heard of the metaverse, with 42% saying they don’t know much about it.

But the key to metaverse success may rest in simply getting customers through the virtual door. Another recent consumer survey, “The Metaverse Mindset: Consumer Shopping Insights,” from experiential e-commerce platform Obsess, indicates that 70% of all consumers who have shopped online in a virtual store have made a purchase in one.

"Our data shows that companies with interests in the metaverse have a lot of work to do to change consumer's attitudes and get them on board,” said Ryan Barry, president at Zappi. “We saw a similar reluctance in the early days of online shopping, 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."

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