inside are “curious” about the metaverse

One innovation that brands, retailers and consumers can hardly ignore is the Metaverse, i.e. a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. More and more brands and retailers have discovered the Metaverse on their own and are trying to attract their customers not only on-site and online, but also in the virtual space. But how exactly do they benefit from it and how is it accepted? Two new studies are devoted to this subject.

A Capgemini Research Institute study examined how immersive experiences and the metaverse improve customer experiences and business operations. It surveyed 8,000 consumers aged 18+ in 12 countries across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific in July and August 2022 about their AR/VR and other immersive mobile-based apps /web, including the Metaverse.

The institute also surveyed 1,000 companies in the consumer goods, retail, discrete manufacturing, life sciences, media, telecommunications, banking and insurance industries to find out how companies use these immersive technologies for their internal operations. This was complemented by in-depth interviews with industry leaders and technology partners, as well as a social listening study that included Google search analysis, social media analysis, feelings and the detection of emotions.

“The findings suggest that much-vaunted immersive technologies have great potential that businesses can capitalize on,” the study concludes.

This is also the result of the joint survey “Metaverse: (Un)known world? conducted by the market research institute Sinus and KPMG among more than 2,000 German citizens aged 14 to 39. “For retailers and service providers of certain product groups and offers, the virtual world of the metaverse can represent a central sales market where younger target groups can be reached,” he concludes.

Companies value immersive experiences internally and externally

Capgemini’s research found that companies expect immersive experiences to not only become important for customer interaction, but also to enhance their employees’ work experience. 70% believe that immersive experiences and the metaverse will be important future applications to differentiate themselves in the market, especially in terms of customer shopping experience.

Two-thirds of companies (66%) have already developed a roadmap for immersive experiences for the next one to two years. 15% want to establish an initial presence in the metaverse within a year, and 45% believe it will become mainstream within three years. However, many companies still take a cautious approach.

“We’re starting to see a more differentiated approach from businesses to designing immersive experiences and specifically the metaverse. Initial interest in the Metaverse was fueled by investments from big tech players. The real challenges in terms of accessibility, security, interoperability and data protection, among others, have not yet been sufficiently taken into account. Companies are now working intensively on it,” said Sargon Korkis, head of digital experience services at Capgemini in Germany, in a statement.

“In the short term, immersive experiences can be very effective, especially for internal use cases. But the potential of the metaverse goes beyond transformation: it brings about a humanistic renaissance of digitization and uses the virtual spatial proximity of the so-called Embodied Internet to do so,” adds Korkis.

business challenges

In addition to external factors such as immature technology or lack of connectivity infrastructure, there are also a number of internal challenges for companies to be able to serve and expand consumer demand: “In particular, there is a lack of strategic planning: 40% of companies see immersive experience initiatives as one-time projects, not the first step in a series of continuous improvements. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of companies say there’s no leadership commitment to immersive experiences, and more than half (56%) don’t have a clear roadmap for adopting such technology”, according to the Capgemini study.

Interviews conducted as part of the study revealed that companies have already successfully implemented various in-house initiatives using immersive experiences and the metaverse, such as digital prototyping in the automotive industry with design reviews and of VR construction, the training of medical professionals in the field of surgery and the Development of commercial space. In the latter case, the virtual visualization of a space makes it possible to plan the design of the stores without the teams having to be on site.

Consumers “fascinated” by the Metaverse

77% of consumers surveyed by Capgemini expect immersive experiences to change the way they interact with people, brands and services. At 4%, only a small group of them are already experienced in the metaverse, about 380 respondents in this study. However, three-quarters of them said they currently use the metaverse and continue to do so.

The study showed that consumers are generally fascinated by the possibilities of immersive experiences. They want to use the metaverse primarily as a place to interact with family and friends (43%) and colleagues (39%). The brands they would most like to interact with in the Metaverse are primarily retail (78%) and consumer goods (77%) companies. “This shows that consumers want to improve their shopping experience, especially for products with high experiential value, such as cars, furniture and household appliances,” explains Capgemini.

KPMG Metaverse Study. Image: KPMG

Shopping in the metaverse conceivable

According to the KPMG study, around 50% of respondents are ready to buy physical products in the digital world: 61% could imagine buying clothes or shoes and 50% cosmetics, pharmacy items or medical supplies. DIY. 43% would be willing to do their shopping in the virtual world.

“Survey results show that both familiar and new brands have the opportunity to establish themselves in the metaverse. Familiar brands have the advantage of a leap of faith. special attention to serious offers in the Metaverse. New brands, on the other hand, may specialize in digital and unique products. More than half of respondents believe that they may also have very unusual products in the Metaverse compared to to reality,” said Stephan Fetsch, partner and head of retail at KPMG, in a statement.

However, there is a gap between actual consumer spending and interest in the Metaverse: nearly 80% of respondents have spent money on online purchases in the past year, but less than half can currently imagine making a Metaverse purchase. This holds great potential for trade.

“This difference of more than 30 percentage points holds enormous potential for trade in goods and services in the metaverse against the background of the growing popularity of the metaverse – always provided that the right target groups are reached. assumption that every euro can only be spent once, the question arises: will consumers be more likely to leave it in the online world or in the metaverse in the future?” says Colette Lala, Sector Retail Manager at KPMG.

challenge for consumers

As curious as consumers are about the metaverse, concerns about technology can mitigate those concerns: harassment, personal safety, and privacy are top concerns. That’s according to Capgemini’s social media analysis of over 180,000 online conversations.

“For the Metaverse as a network of virtual worlds, issues of security and ethics are important in creating a sense of community that is critical to widespread adoption. employees, companies need to address these concerns before creating their virtual spaces, and they should find a way to moderate those spaces while balancing privacy and security concerns, so they need to start understanding the metaverse today to avoid to be left behind later,” concludes Korkis.

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