The German economy is divided at the Metaverse | Press release

  • 26% are interested in the subject, 29% reject it
  • 4 in 10 expect competitors to bid in the Metaverse
  • Almost one in two companies plan to invest in the Metaverse in the next five years

Berlin, October 26, 2022 – With the Metaverse, the German economy is divided, skepticism and open-mindedness are balanced. About one in four companies (26%) are generally interested and open about the subject, while a similar number (29%) are judgmental and dismissive. 34% are still undecided. One in four (26%) see the metaverse as an opportunity for their own business, one in five (20%) as a risk. A third (33%) assume that the metaverse has no influence on their own business, 21% do not dare to make an assessment yet. This is the result of a representative survey of 604 companies with 20 or more employees in Germany on behalf of the digital association Bitkom. However, a slim majority (58%) believe the Metaverse will dramatically change the internet and provide a host of new business opportunities. However, 42% consider this to be short-term hype that falls short of expectations and will die soon. “The Metaverse is based on a large number of relatively young technologies, such as blockchain or virtual reality. Some players in the tech scene are expecting a real internet revolution. Whether this will happen is currently completely open,” says Bitkom CEO Dr. Bernhard Röhleder. “It is important that German companies are open to this technology and pay close attention to its development and what it can offer them.”

The Metaverse is not a virtual parallel world, but both a 3D extension of the internet and a virtual extension of the real world. There are many connections between the real world and the virtual world: virtual goods are purchased with real money, digital twins and avatars represent real machines and people, digital information is displayed in our field of vision thanks to augmented reality. Possible applications range from virtual tours at concerts or shopping sprees to purely digital shopping malls to virtual meetings of teams spread across continents and the digital twin of real factories in which changes to the production process can be tested. By 2030, various consulting firms predict a global market volume of several hundreds of billions of euros for deals related to the Metavers.

German companies see a number of benefits that using the metaverse can bring. One in two people (49%) believe that better collaboration within companies is possible, for example through virtual conferences. More than one in three (37%) say that the Metaverse makes it possible to offer completely new products and services. A fifth each expect to have access to whole new customer groups (22%) and whole new ways to interact with customers (21%). 15% believe that existing products and services can be adapted to the metaverse, and 11% believe that the metaverse gives companies a competitive advantage. “The metaverse can be used within a business as well as a place to offer products and services. Much depends on the ability of metaverse solution providers to convince large numbers of commercial users of the opportunities,” says Rohleder.

For their own company, respondents can mainly imagine virtual meetings for internal company cooperation, virtual company representation and employee training in the metaverse (44% each). But team building events (41%), product presentations (39%) and product sales (35%) are also considered interesting. Recruitment of new employees (28%), service delivery (24%) and marketing (22%) follow at some distance. Virtually no companies (2%) consider direct investments in the metaverse, such as purchases of virtual land, as attractive. 4 in 10 companies (40%) cannot currently imagine any worthwhile business in the metaverse.

In general, two-thirds (68%) of companies assume that the Metaverse is still a long way off. However, 14% also say the Metaverse threatens the previous business model. And almost one in four companies (23%) even sees the existence of the whole company threatened by the metaverse. And 4 in 10 (44%) expect competitors to use the Metaverse. A similar number (40%) consider it impossible.

In the German economy, the Metaverse is currently considered particularly interesting for the leisure and gaming industry (65%). A majority also consider it relevant for digital platforms (56%), end consumers (56%), education and training (54%), tourism (52%) and the fashion industry (51%). ). It is followed by the music industry (48%), companies targeting consumers (48%), healthcare (46%) and companies targeting professional customers (45%). 3 in 10 companies (31%) also see an opportunity for public administration in the metaverse. “There’s really no area where you can’t imagine using Metaverse apps,” says Rohleder. “It’s not just about entertainment. Training can be just as effective in virtual reality as, say, seeing a doctor.

Businesses see a variety of challenges surrounding the metaverse. Some complain that the technology is not yet mature (76%) and that metaverse applications are not standardized (48%). But the benefits are still generally questioned. Two-thirds (66%) lack practical applications, and a similar number (63%) want to wait and see what others do with the metaverse. 39% see no fundamental benefit for their own business and 16% have blocked investments in other trending areas. But regulations in Germany are also blocking the way to the Metaverse. 62% complain about data protection requirements, 46% see legal uncertainties in the metaverse, and 29% worry about IT security requirements. The internal sticking points are currently a lack of know-how (62%) and a lack of qualified personnel (35%), but also insufficient budgets (23%). 15% lack time to engage with the Metaverse. “For the metaverse to be successful, it urgently needs standards and interoperability. Very few companies will invest the time and money to be part of a metaverse solution if they risk getting the wrong horse,” says Rohleder.

The current uncertainty has consequences: 47% have not yet delved into the content of the metaverse and have no intention of doing so. A quarter (27%) have not yet dealt with it, but can at least imagine doing so in the future, and 12% actually intend to do so. Only 4% of companies treated the metaverse less, 2% very intensively. “Just wanting to be in the metaverse somehow is definitely not a viable strategy. Right now, the main thing is to follow upcoming developments very closely and make them workable. for your own business at an early stage,” says Rohleder.

About half of companies (45%) are planning investments around the metaverse. 2% want to invest this year, 8% plan to do so next year. And 41% are confident they will make corresponding investments in 2024 or the next five years.

Above all, better information about marketable metaverse applications (66%) would make it easier for the German economy to find its way through the metaverse. Financial support for Metaverse projects in companies (52%) and assistance with legal usage assessment (48%) are also on the wish list. A better availability of specialists and the expansion of research activities in universities would help 45% each, 43% are interested in roadshows and conferences that show concrete applications, 41% in exchange with companies that are already more advanced on the subject. Exchanges with universities and research institutes (27%) and an external assessment of the quality of Metaverse applications (26%) would help a quarter each.

According to the companies, Germany currently risks being left behind internationally when it comes to the still young subject of the metaverse. Hardly any company sees Germany as the world leader (0%) or in the top group (0%) of the metaverse. Only 4% place Germany in the middle, but 30% among the laggards, and 56% already see Germany as lagging behind. 11% dare not do an evaluation. Rohleder: “The metaverse can become a technological megatrend. We can’t sit idly by here and watch what our competitors are doing. In this first phase in particular, the design possibilities are particularly wide. We have to use it.

Bitkom launched the Metaverse Forum to bring Metaverse stakeholders together, discuss current developments related to the topic, and jointly promote and shape the Metaverse. More information can be found at www.forum-metaverse.de. Among other things, the guide “Ways into the Metaverse” is available there as practical help for companies as a free download: www.bitkom.org/Bitkom/Publikationen/Wegweiser-Metaverse.

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