Consumer behavior in the metaverse
There’s huge industry buzz and excitement around the metaverse. The evidence? More than 100,000 articles published in the last year alone. However, too many businesses are talking about the metaverse in terms of what the technologies can do, not what end users want. Only 15% of all those articles actually touch on consumer needs.
Accenture wanted to change that, and really listen to what consumers want. So we surveyed approximately 9,000 people and found that more than half of them (55%) want to become active users of the metaverse. And 90% of those consumers want to engage within the next year. Of course, gaming is still a big draw for many people (59% of consumers look forward to playing games in the metaverse), but only 4% of consumers see the metaverse as only that.
Instead, they see it as an essential tool that, when integrated into their daily lives, can streamline how they complete tasks and increase their productivity. As one US consumer expressed it, “I wish that the metaverse could solve how we do our day-to-day tasks, like paying bills, learning how to cook meals or accessing mental-health professionals.”
We’re at a point where consumers know what they want, so businesses must make sure they’re listening to – and building things for – consumers. While promoting the art of the possible may be great at generating buzz and excitement, those who bring the art of the tangible to life will capture both consumer mindshare and, crucially, market share.
What’s more, consumers not only know where they want to use the metaverse, they also know what they want to get out of it…and those wishes are practical: connect with friends and family, save time, access consumer services, and complete everyday tasks.
Businesses that are able to deliver at the intersection of “where” and “what”, with solutions that address consumers’ expressed needs, will gain early-mover advantage in a rapidly-forming metaverse industry. So what does that look like? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Looking specifically at fitness, the second most popular metaverse area after media, our study showed that the majority (~60%) of consumers want a solution that improves their home workouts. When asked to list their top features for a solution like this, consumers said they want: personalized workouts (48%); intuitive and engaging instruction (39%); the ability to easily track and monitor progress (27%) and connect to their other fitness devices and equipment (26%). Finally, we wanted to understand the primary drivers for adopting a metaverse fitness solution. The top-three were: data/privacy protection (77%); affordability (77%) and ease of use (75%).
Notice how none of these touched on the technology? That’s because consumers don’t think in terms of tech. They care about outcomes and experiences. It’s up to businesses to bring the technology together to deliver what consumers want.
While being consumer-led is critical, it’s important to keep in mind that not all consumer segments are the same. As an example, when looking by age bands across the five areas where consumer metaverse demand is growing, we see that younger consumers (<55 years old) are more interested in fitness and media (ranked #1 and #2 respectively) while older consumers (>55 years old) are more interested in medical and travel.
Taking this one step further, consumers’ level of interest in specific areas directly translates to their willingness to adopt and use metaverse solutions for those purposes.
That’s why businesses need to be tactical about engaging with the right consumers to inform what they need to build.
Here are the three no-regret moves that business need to take to truly engage consumers:
Running through all of this is the need to start thinking about the metaverse as something that will become as ubiquitous in consumers’ day-to-day lives as the internet and mobile devices are today.
Accenture conducted an online survey of 9,156 consumers aged 18+ across six countries (Brazil, India, Japan, China, United Kingdom, United States) to understand widespread attitudes toward the metaverse – familiarity and usage, preferences and priorities, and perspective on specific use cases. The survey was designed to be nationally representative within each of the six countries. To achieve this, all survey starts were balanced by age and gender, although the final completes for these demographics may vary slightly (both for the global sample, and by country). Fieldwork was conducted entirely in October 2022.