The growing use of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality will spur consumer-facing companies, such as those in retail, consumer goods and travel, to increase investment in new capabilities and experiences to blend physical and virtual worlds, or risk being left behind, according to the findings of a recent global survey from Accenture.
The survey of more than 11,000 consumers in 16 countries including India found that while almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers had already purchased a virtual good or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year, that figure is expected to rise, as 83% show interest in making purchases via the metaverse.
Furthermore, 42% of survey respondents said they had visited a retailer in the virtual world to get advice, make a payment or browse a product range when shopping for a physical item, while 56% of respondents plan to in the next year. Among millennials, these figures increase to 51% and 61% respectively.
According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2022, “Meet Me in the Metaverse: The Continuum of Technology and Experience Reshaping Business,” more than half (55%) of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving into digital spaces.
In response, the vast majority (90%) of retail executives say that they anticipate that leading organisations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds.
Further, 72% of global executives state that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organisations, with 45% believing it will be breakthrough or transformational.
“As consumers explore the virt-real world, companies that do not actively begin incorporating new immersive experiences into their business strategy now, run the risk of being left behind. By embracing the Metaverse, businesses have the opportunity to reinvent consumer experiences and also transform the way in which products and services are being created and offered,” said Anurag Gupta, managing director and lead - Strategy and Consulting, Accenture in India.
The survey also found that half (50%) of consumers said that they are buying, or would be interested in buying, a travel experience such as a sightseeing tour or hotel stay. This figure rises to 55% of millennials, compared to 29% of baby boomers. For leisure, 54% of consumers said that they are buying, or interested in buying, tickets to a concert, a show or sporting event taking place in a virtual world.
Manish Gupta, Managing Director and Lead - Products, Accenture in India, said, “As an evolving continuum, Metaverse is expected to transform and impact every part of the business value chain – right from reinventing consumer engagement to solving R&D issues and enabling enterprise-wide data analysis to leadership decisions. Consumer-facing companies need to focus on skilling and investing in a robust technology foundation to benefit from the new opportunities that will come up in the future.”
In addition to giving rise to new ways to shop, travel and socialise, virtual products and locations highlights a potential opportunity to grow revenue across industries.
Accenture recently announced the launch of the Accenture Metaverse Continuum business group, which combines metaverse-skilled professionals and market-leading capabilities in customer experience, digital commerce, extended reality, blockchain, digital twins, artificial intelligence and computer vision to help clients design, execute and accelerate their metaverse journeys.