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Metaverse interest is high, but further development is needed - survey

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(Kitco News) -  Despite the fact that “Metaverse” came in second place for Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year contest, interest in the nascent concept is widespread, highlighting its potential to be the spark that brings mass adoption to the crypto industry.

According to the results of a recent survey conducted by business and technology strategy adviser Capgemini, 93% of adult consumers surveyed indicated that they are curious about the Metaverse and interested in learning more about it, while 4% of respondents indicated that they are already using the Metaverse, and 3% identified as “Metaverse skeptic.”

Out of the Metaverse curious group, 51% said that they would use the Metaverse once it became accessible to them, 31% said they would do so after their friends and family started using it, and 11% said they would use it, but not in its current form.

The report, which was conducted in 12 countries, surveyed 8,000 consumers and 1,000 organizations across different sectors to understand metaverse competency, interest and impact.

Overall, 55% of consumers indicated that they are excited about the Metaverse. This finding aligned with the results of a social media survey that analyzed 180,000 social media mentions of the Metaverse. The results showed that 37% of tweets featuring the Metaverse were positive while only 7% were negative, despite the fact that most consumers are currently unable to access a high level of engagement with the Metaverse. This indicates a high level of anticipation.

“This presents a unique opportunity to organizations and brands to create a strong metaverse presence – getting in on the ground floor and securing a distinct competitive advantage,” the report said.

In terms of geographic location, early adoption of the Metaverse is highest in Canada, where 6.9% of the sample population indicated having Metaverse experience, followed by South Korea (5.4%), Japan (5.4%), and the United States (4.7%). Some of the lowest levels of adoption were seen in Spain (2.3%), the U.K. (2.3%), and the Netherlands (2.7%).

Age demographics and areas of interest

Millennials aged 26-41 showed the highest rate of adoption (4.9%) followed by Gen Z respondents aged 18-25. The report noted that the age cutoff was 18, which likely affected the adoption statistics as many of the consumers who use popular Metaverse platforms like Roblox are under the age of 18. Sixty-seven percent of Roblox users are under the age of 16, hinting that the younger generations will be more likely to engage with the Metaverse.

With Roblox registering 52.2 million daily active users, 400 million monthly active users, and 11.3 billion cumulative hours engaged at the end of Q2 2022 hints at the potential scale of engagement with the Metaverse once it is more developed and accessible.

Full-time students and self-employed professionals were found to be the most eager cohorts to experience the metaverse, while all other cohorts showed a similar interest of around 4.2%.

The survey also delved into types of metaverse interactions consumers are looking for, to which 43% of respondents indicated that they would like to interact with friends and family, followed by 39% who said they would use it to interact with work colleagues. 33% of respondents said they would use it for gaming-related experiences, and 28% said it would be useful with commercial activity.

When asked which brands or industries respondents would like to see or experience in the Metaverse, 78% identified retail shopping; 77% picked “product organizations” such as cars, household electronics, and furniture; 56% chose banking and insurance; 55% selected life sciences (healthcare, medical devices, etc.); 51% selected training and education, 50% highlighted consumer products, such as household packaged goods; and 44% selected telecommunication services.

Web3 gaming giant Animoca Brands plans to launch a $2 billion metaverse fund

Metaverse downsides

On the negative side, many respondents voiced concerns about the Metaverse that are similar to those which plague traditional social media. The immersive nature of the Metaverse can make these threats seem more personal and physical to users, the report said, which “could lead to a harmful experience for users and negative associations with brands as a consequence.”

“Our limited sample of metaverse-experienced consumers suggests that consumers perceive the metaverse to be a hostile environment. Among these consumers, two in three stated that it was hostile to women, people of color, and sexual and gender minorities,” the report said. 29% of users said they have been cyberstalked, bullied, harassed, and/or faced hostile actions in the metaverse, and one in four said they had a close personal contact who had experienced similar situations.

This largely falls in line with the results of a Pew Research study that found “one in four US consumers experience online harassment (physical threats, sexual harassment, stalking, and sustained harassment),” the report said.

The top concerns voiced by respondents were data collection (76%) and control of personal assets (72%), followed by traditional concerns about social media (60%).

“Most of the technology and user-interface challenges with the metaverse are teething issues common to current and emerging platforms or services,” Capgemini said, adding that these concerns “will be addressed as the technology matures.”

“Moderating these spaces will need to balance interactivity with privacy and security issues, all of which needs to be addressed by brands at the design stage,” the report concluded.

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