As retailers look to innovate new e-commerce experiences that rival in-store shopping, brands across a spectrum of categories are experimenting with metaverse offerings. But how much real opportunity do these immersive virtual spaces present for brands to grow their engagement and sales? A new consumer study by CommerceNext, in partnership with Bizrate Insights, Coresight Research and CommX, seeks to gauge consumer perceptions and awareness of metaverse technologies as well as their adoption of them. The February 2022 survey, which polled mostly women (58%) and focused on respondents between the ages of 18 and 59, found that almost half of those surveyed (48%) hadn’t yet heard the term “metaverse” and that only 5% considered themselves enthusiastic users of it, while 47% were only vaguely familiar with the term and still in the dark on how to use it.
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“Our survey data indicate that awareness of the metaverse is low overall, but the potential is high.”
“Our survey data indicate that awareness of the metaverse is low overall, but the potential is high.” said Veronika Sonsev, Co-Founder of CommerceNext. “While most shoppers were not familiar with the metaverse, the ones that engage in virtual worlds seemed inclined to shop in the metaverse in the future.”
Only 18% of all consumers surveyed said that they engaged with virtual worlds at all. Of the 100 consumers surveyed who do engage with virtual worlds, 76% play games and 39% socialize in them. While only 30% of the group shops in metaverse environments, these respondents reported interest in activities such as shopping in virtual malls and trying on clothing and accessories virtually when they were asked about potential shopping-related activities in future metaverse visits. Notably, respondents showed the most interest in buying real-world products, a glimmer of hope for metaverse-bound retailers.
“Despite the hype, this timely research helps ground where the metaverse is really at for consumers, while pointing to where it can have a meaningful impact in the long term.,” said Brian Walker, Chief Strategy Officer at Bloomreach, a founding CommX member. “For brands, their metaverse marketing strategy might focus on the brand and PR benefits as they begin to test and learn. Overall, retailers aren’t missing out on sales if they are not focused on the metaverse now, as consumer adoption is still early, but they’ll want to keep an eye on emerging technologies and platforms as potential revenue drivers as shopper awareness and usage grows.”
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