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Consumers and businesses are getting more interested in the metaverse, according to a report by Accenture.

The interest is in the metaverse as a creator economy and tool to enhance day-to-day tasks, and Accenture believes the metaverse will fuel a $1 trillion commerce opportunity by Accenture said.

The global consulting and financial services firm released the report at the CES 2023 tech trade show in
Las Vegas today.

Overall findings

Top industry areas where consumers want to engage with the metaverse.

According to the research, more than half (55%) of the roughly 9,000 consumers surveyed see the
metaverse as a business opportunity for creating and monetizing content. Most (89%) C-suite executives
also believe the metaverse will have an important role in their organization’s future growth, according to a parallel survey of 3,200 C-suite executives. The findings estimate 4.2% of company revenues, or a total
of $1 trillion, could come from metaverse experiences and commerce by the end of 2025.
 
The findings indicate 55% of consumers want to be active users of the metaverse and nearly all of them
(90%) want to do so in the next year. The top features consumers want are easy-to-use interfaces (cited
by 70%) and access to a wide variety of applications (68%), which outperformed more “form” features,
such as flashy headsets (55%) and the ability to personalize avatars (55%). 

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The preference for the metaverse varies by age, with younger consumers more interested in media and fitness and those older in accessing health services in new ways. Still, what all have in common is a desire to enhance the things they already do every day, such as the experience of working-out at home (cited by 60%) or improving interactions with health professionals (55%).

Gamer details

Gamers are fans of the metaverse, Accenture says.

While gaming is appealing for 59% of metaverse users, only 4% of consumers see the metaverse as just
a gaming platform. In fact, 70% say they intend to use the metaverse to access products and services
across media and entertainment, fitness, retail, travel and healthcare.

About 51% of gamers say they’ve already experienced the metaverse. And gamers are three times as likely to have experienced the metaverse than non-gamers.

Awareness and interest in the metaverse were highest among gamers. Nearly 80% of respondents said they played video games, with one in three gamers playing more than 10 hours a week. Gaming was ranked No. 1 as the most sought-after use case (27% of respondents ranked gaming as their No. 1 use case).

More consumer and business details

Accenture quizzed 9,000 people about the metaverse.

Consumers show high interest in solutions that help them better complete everyday tasks and activities.

 “The metaverse as a continuum of technologies and human-centric experiences will usher in the next era
of our digital lives and transform all aspects of business,” said David Treat, senior managing director and
co-lead of Accenture’s metaverse continuum business group, in a statement. “Underpinning it all are opportunities for new products and services, digital assets, business models and the technical capacity for conveying a sense of presence and expression.”

Kevan Yalowitz, Accenture’s software and platforms industry practice lead, added in a statement, “Consumers are starting to see the metaverse as an essential tool which, when integrated into their lives, can streamline how they complete tasks and increase productivity. Businesses able to deliver tangible experiences that address consumer needs in key areas of interest will gain early-mover advantage in a rapidly forming metaverse industry.” 

To fully capture the opportunity, businesses should be strategic about business model changes being
enabled by the metaverse while engaging with all stakeholders to inform the experiences they create, Accenture said. The suggestions are as follows.

  • Be creative and keep it simple – Businesses should only develop metaverse experiences that are within their users’ mental models. Creativity is still key, but this this means going back to the basics and building upwards. With this mindset, businesses can focus on the right metaverse strategies and operating models. 
  • Start small and focused – Businesses should approach the metaverse with a rigorous, customer-focused mindset that artfully services their needs. They should also focus on understanding how to apply the metaverse to different parts of the business. 
  • Engage with early building blocks – Metaverse and Web3 ecosystems are rapidly developing and launching new opportunities for value generation. This continues to open new doors for businesses— as long as they target the right areas quickly but thoughtfully.

Accenture’s findings are the result of two research projects. The first report, based on a survey of 9,156 consumers, explores widespread attitudes, preferences and use cases in the metaverse. The second report combines recommendations, market analysis and a parallel survey of 3,200 C-suite executives.

More metaverse

Accenture said there is huge industry buzz around the metaverse, as more than 100,000 articles were published on the subject in the last year alone.

However, Accenture said 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. That’s why Accenture did its survey.

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.”

Consumers are very much prioritizing function over form. Easy-to-use interfaces (70%) and a wide variety of applications (69%) are among the top metaverse features they care about, 15 percentage points ahead of flashy headsets (55%) and the ability to personalize avatars (55%).

Consumers want access to a broad set of simple but effective solutions that help them with the
everyday, rather than looking for futuristic tech and features that, while cool, aren’t that useful.
Beyond gaming, consumer demand for metaverse solutions is already taking shape in five
areas: media, fitness, retail, health and travel.

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, Accenture said.

Looking specifically at fitness, the second most popular metaverse area after media, the study showed that the majority (~60%) of consumers want a solution that improves their in-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%).

Accenture 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%). None of these answers touched on technology, as consumers care more about outcomes and experiences.

Accenture also said that 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, Accenture said.

Accenture had three no-regret moves that businesses need to take to truly engage consumers:

  • Be consumer obsessed and engage consumers from the start. Consumer insights need to be integral at each stage of the product lifecycle: from ideation through to design and development. To do this, companies need to stand up “voice of the consumer” initiatives early and make sure that what they learn from these initiatives is given the same weight as engineering and technology requirements when it comes to steering the direction of the product.
  • Understand that this is a journey of continuous learning. Businesses need to recognize that they are at the beginning of their metaverse journey with consumers. They will be defining and shaping the future of the metaverse landscape together. Businesses need to make VoC functions an integral part of their organizations and make sure these persist long into the future to encapsulate the long-term vision of where the metaverse is headed.
  • Build for now, align on the future. While businesses focus on building what consumers want from the metaverse today, they also need to look towards the future of the industry’s development as a cohesive unit. Dedicate a team to define a future of metaverse “north star” and secure organizational alignment across the business. This will establish the foundation for future innovation as the industry continues to evolve. 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.

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