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Survey: Metaverse commerce poised for growth

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Consumers are showing interest in metaverse shopping.

A new consumer survey indicates participation and interest in making purchases in the metaverse may be greater than commonly thought.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents had already purchased a virtual good or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year, with the figure expected to rise, according to a consumer survey conducted in February by Accenture. More than eight in 10 (83%) respondents show interest in making purchases via the metaverse.

Furthermore, 42% of survey respondents said they had visited a retailer in the metaverse to get advice, make a payment, or browse a product range when shopping for a physical item. And more than half (56%) of respondents plan to visit a metaverse retailer in the next year. Among millennial respondents, these figures increase to 51% and 61% respectively.

According to another recent Accenture study, Accenture Technology Vision 2022, more than half (55%) of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving into digital spaces. In response, the vast majority (90%) of surveyed retail executives say that they anticipate leading organizations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real. More than seven in 10 (72%) executive respondents state that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organizations, with 45% believing it will be a breakthrough or transformational.

The survey also found that half of consumers said that they are buying, or would be interested in buying, a travel experience such as a sightseeing tour or hotel stay. This figure rises to 55% of millennials, compared to 29% of baby boomers. For leisure, 54% of consumers said that they are buying, or interested in buying, tickets to a concert, a show or sporting event taking place in a virtual world.

Will the metaverse commercially boom or bust?
Some other recent surveys have indicated less enthusiasm for the metaverse as a commerce channel. For example, only 46% of respondents to a recent KPMG Consumer Pulse survey agreed that “the metaverse can provide a forum to interact with friends in a way that is as meaningful as in person,” while 44% of respondents agree that “engaging with friends in the metaverse is an authentic way of interacting.”

And according to a recent, similarly-themed 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.

“The metaverse era has begun, and so for consumer-facing companies, it’s not about deciding if they’re going to go into the metaverse, it’s deciding how,’’ said Jill Standish, senior managing director and global head of Accenture’s retail industry group. “Retailers and brands will need to reimagine and experiment with what new immersive and consultative experiences could mean to consumers. In addition to new opportunities to sell, the metaverse can also help build loyalty through experiences that go beyond just buying a product. 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.”

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