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People may not know what the metaverse holds for them beyond games, but the vast majority of U.S. adults are ready to plunge into it, according to a survey by KPMG.

Whether they agree on what it is or not, the metaverse has captured the imagination of Americans. KPMG said about 78% of U.S. adults said in a survey they see value in immersive interactions such as socializing with friends and family, while 76% say they see value in on-the-job training in the metaverse.

Further, 59% of U.S. adults report they expect the metaverse to have a significant impact on their lives in the next 12 months with an additional 48% reporting a significant impact in next 5 years.

“While it may still be early days, U.S. adults are increasingly adapting to creating real life experiences across the ‘phygital’ world,” said Cliff Justice, U.S. leader of enterprise innovation at KPMG, in a statement. “With each interaction, people are becoming more accustomed to engaging in everyday activities in the metaverse. From banking and telemedicine to learning and working, the medium we use to communicate and interact is perpetually shifting towards virtual.”

KPMG surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 to 65. (If you need to learn about the metaverse, our GamesBeat Summit Next 2022 event will have speakers talking about it, including Sim City creator Will Wright, cofounder of Gallium; and Matthew Ball, CEO of Epyllion and author of the popular book, The Metaverse.)

Rising impact

Sources of knowledge about the metaverse.

The metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses and consumers engage, transact, socialize and work, KPMG said. Of those participating in the metaverse, 92% of respondents say it enhances learning opportunities, including job training, school and higher education while 86% report the metaverse provides opportunities for entrepreneurship, including marketing and selling.

Regardless of whether consumers are engaging in the metaverse, a majority of U.S. adults are interested in virtual experiences. Beyond socialization, telemedicine (72%), virtual shopping apps (67%), virtual work (65%) and starting a business (51%) rank the highest.

The path to broad adoption is growing at a steady clip, but existing skepticism may create hurdles along the way. Privacy (80%) and protecting personal information (79%) were the most significant concerns, according to the survey.

In the same vein, feeling secure about privacy and security of personal information were the most important factors to encourage participation. Increasing access affordable technology and customizable avatars are also the most cited ways to increase diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the metaverse, 38% and 36% respectively.

Nearly a third (30%) of respondents say ensuring that metaverse environments are accessible to those with disabilities should be the priority across this category.

“With the companies and people still understanding the potential scope and scale of the metaverse’s impact, we must prioritize inclusive, safe and secure practices to protect users and ensure experiences are adaptable,” said Justice. “The recalcitrance to innovation is low and this is time to embed these priorities across technologies as they continue to evolve.”

As part of its strategic innovation roadmap, KPMG in the U.S. recently partnered with KPMG in Canada to launch its metaverse collaboration hub where employees, clients and communities can connect, engage and explore opportunities for growth across industries and sectors. The firm has formed a dedicated team to help clients develop and execute their own metaverse strategies.

Top findings

People are looking forward to virtual experiences.

Forging metaverse connections:

  • 78% of all respondents say the metaverse allows or could allow them to have personal connections with friends and family.
  • 76% of all respondents say the metaverse enhances or could enhance learning opportunities such as job training and higher ed.
  • 66% of all respondents say it provides the same benefits as social media, but in a more immersive way.

Millennials (69%) and Gen Z (61%) lead when it comes to being excited about the metaverse, followed by Gen X (44%). About 59% of U.S. adults expect a significant impact from the metaverse in the next five years, with 48% anticipating a significant impact in the next 12 months.

Current metaverse users are the most satisfied with their virtual experiences. Among those who have participated in the metaverse, the top experiences include starting a business (91%), collaborative online games and simulations (91%), and immersive, virtual experiences created by brands (87%).

Current metaverse users also report virtual participation in trainings for work or school (96%), work meetings (82%), virtual classrooms (72%) and government meetings (71%) as top experiences.

A majority of U.S. adults, regardless of their current participation in the metaverse, are interested in virtual experiences. Top interests include virtual meetings with family and friends (73%), telemedicine (72%), virtual shopping apps (67%), virtual work (65%) and starting a business (51%).

And 32% of respondents are open to but undecided about metaverse participation. Of this group, 31% have a lower familiarity with the metaverse.

Paths to greater engagement

Respondents say privacy is the top concern 79% when using the metaverse followed by personal information (79%).

Gen Z respondents care more about avatar customization (42%) with 36% of total respondents reporting this is the top DEI concern. Nearly a third (30%) of respondents say ensuring that metaverse environments are accessible to those with disabilities should be the priority across this category.

Providing access to more affordable metaverse technologies is the top concern among millennials (39%) and GenX/Boomers (40%) respondents.

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