NEWS3 May 2022

Consumer interest in ‘virtual living’ intensifies, Accenture survey finds

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GLOBAL – The growing use of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality will act as a catalyst for companies to invest in new capabilities to blend the 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 found that while almost two-thirds ( 64%) had already purchased virtual goods, or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year, that figure is expected to rise, with 83% showing 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 report, 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 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.

In addition, some 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’.

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.

“The metaverse era has begun and so for consumer-facing companies, it’s not about deciding if they’re going to go into the metaverse, it’s deciding how’’, said Jill Standish, senior managing director and global head of Accenture’s retail industry group.

“Retailers and brands will need to reimagine and experiment with what new immersive and consultative experiences could mean to consumers. For instance, retailers can create a personalised experience by offering a live-stream shopping event where customers can sit next to a brand ambassador, and then immediately be able to step into a virtual dressing room where they can try something on, add it to their basket, and check out.”

 Emily Weiss, senior managing director and global head of Accenture’s travel industry group added: “It’s important to recognise that the metaverse is not intended to replace physical travel, rather provide a complementary enhancement to an overarching experience that, over time, may become an essential part of the travel ecosystem.

“Through trying-before-you-travel, recreating landmarks in all their past glory or allowing travellers to investigate parts of nature that they cannot explore within real-life interaction, the metaverse can also help create a more meaningful travel experience that delivers on, or even exceeds, customer expectations.”