Although the metaverse is in its infancy as a commerce channel, its future for consumer engagement appears bright.
According to a new survey of consumers and marketers from digital experience platform provider Sitecore, both groups of respondents expect the metaverse to become a significant channel for social interaction, marketing, and business transactions. Highlights of responses from each survey group follow.
Consumers Sitecore specifically surveyed consumers who fall into a category it calls “metaverse enthusiasts,” or people who are currently engaging in the metaverse or want to engage with the metaverse in the near future. Interesting findings from these respondents include:
Most want to use the metaverse for expanding life experiences. When asked “When it comes to using the metaverse, what do you look forward to the most?”, top consumer responses were “experiencing things I wouldn’t normally experience” (57%), “escaping reality” (51%), “being able to virtually test or try products” (49%), and “meeting new people” (47%).
Popular metaverse uses include business transactions. When consumer survey respondents were asked how they would use the Metaverse, the most popular responses included “an event, concert, or festival” (43%), “to tour a home when looking to rent or buy a property” (37%), and “to try on shoes, clothes or makeup before purchasing” (37%).
Brand messaging is expected. In good news for marketers, most surveyed consumers assume they will see brand messaging in the metaverse. Nearly nine out of 10 (88%) consumer respondents expect brands will sell or advertise on the metaverse in the next one to two years. Surveyed consumers are most interested in using the metaverse to engage with brands in the retail (58%), travel (52%), food & beverage (49%) and beauty (45%) industries.
The metaverse could replace social media. Nearly four in five (79%) surveyed consumers anticipate that they will spend more time in the Metaverse than on social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram.
Marketers Sitecore also surveyed 310 U.S. marketers about their perceptions of the metaverse. Notable findings include:
Marketers see metaverse potential. Nine in 10 surveyed marketers agree that the metaverse — if built correctly — can help solve unique business challenges. They believe the metaverse will be able to help with brand building, including awareness (68%), customer engagement/loyalty (59%), and reputation (49%). More than half (54%) see sales and revenue potential, and more than one-third (36%) say that the metaverse will support hiring and recruitment.
Marketers begin to embrace the metaverse. Three in 10 (31%) of the marketers in the Sitecore survey said their organizations are already engaging with the metaverse as part of their current marketing program. In addition, more than half (56%) reported that their current marketing programs include other mixed-reality technologies, such as augmented reality or virtual reality.
The metaverse has a future. More than half (55%) of the marketers surveyed said that even though they are not currently using the metaverse, their organization is planning to engage with the metaverse in the future. Millennials are the primary target of marketers in all industries that were surveyed.