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Dive Brief:

  • Expressing a sense of optimism about the experimental space, a report released this month by McKinsey & Company estimates the metaverse will generate up to $5 trillion in impact by 2030. The impact varies by industry, with an estimated $2 to $2.6 trillion impact specifically on e-commerce.
  • The report surveyed over 3,400 consumers and executives about the metaverse, finding around 61% of business leaders expect “it to moderately change the way their industry operates,” per the report.
  • Businesses already getting involved in the metaverse could have long-term advantages, though the digital space will likely require the current workforce to learn new skills.

Dive Insight:

The metaverse is a space of great value for retailers and not just a fad, according to McKinsey’s latest report. 

“There continue to be questions around the longevity and potential of the metaverse, with an extreme view regarding it as merely a rebranded gaming platform of little wider interest. We do not share that skepticism and believe the metaverse has the potential to be the next iteration of the internet,” the report’s authors wrote.

Around 64% of consumers surveyed indicated they were excited or very excited about shopping in the metaverse. Of the 59% of respondents who indicated they already preferred one or more activities virtually versus physically, 79% said they preferred immersive world shopping. 

McKinsey believes the metaverse’s potential impact stems from several factors, including its appeal across genders and geographies, and that consumers are already spending on digital assets.

For the retail industry, McKinsey says that the metaverse could drive physical product sales, reduce the costs needed for physical stores and enhance the in-store experience through personalized surroundings. 

Other studies about the metaverse have shown that while its awareness is growing, there is still some confusion from consumers about what it actually is. A Wunderman Thompson Intelligence report from May said that only 15% of surveyed respondents felt they could explain the metaverse. 

The same survey found that 72% of parents are concerned with their children’s privacy and 66% are concerned about safety in the metaverse. While the metaverse was initially believed to help curb hate speech and increase user privacy, the reality has been different. For example, the community-led blockchain virtual world Decentraland previously failed to get enough votes to ban the usage of the word “Hitler” as part of usernames.



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