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Less than 1 in 5 European consumers understand what the Metaverse is

Olly Warren Senior Director, EMEA 1 June 2023

The rise of the metaverse will define the next era of digital transformation, revolutionising life and enterprises in the years ahead. It’s speeding towards mainstream adoption—and businesses need to move now if they are not to be left behind like Kodak, Blockbusters, MySpace and FriendsReunited?

Awareness of the Metaverse in Europe is quite strong as half of European consumers (49%) surveyed said they have heard about it. However, when it comes to a proper understanding of it, figures across Europe are much lower. Spanish consumers (30%) have the most accurate understanding of the Metaverse while Nordic (14%) and Dutch (14%) consumers have the least accurate understanding of the virtual space.

Most European consumers associate the Metaverse with Facebook (58%), Instagram (30%) and YouTube (26%) and around 10% associate it with platforms such as Roblox and Cryptovoxels.

The vast majority are reluctant ​to buy anything in the Metaverse​

Out of those surveyed, 36% are willing to shop for physical or digital items in the Metaverse today, demonstrating there is still work to be done when it comes to instilling trust and understanding of it.​ Italian consumers are the most open to making purchases via the Metaverse, both for digital (48%) and physical items (49%).​

Other sub-groups who are most willing to make a purchase on the platform are Gen Z (54%) and Insulated consumers (54%).​ Insulated consumers are aware of the problems in the wider economy but it has not really affected them personally.

Brand usage of the Metaverse is expected to grow​

The majority of consumers in Europe anticipate brands to start making more use of it in the next few years. Failure of businesses to adapt could lead to getting left behind. Over half of European consumers (55%) agree that brands should be looking to understand the role they can play within the Metaverse​, and whatever they do, they need to be conscious of what they’re putting on the platform: 61% of Europeans surveyed feel that anything brands put in the Metaverse must be authentic​.

Italian consumers remain the most receptive while the French place less weight on the influence of the Metaverse on brands – only 27% agree that brands that don’t embrace the platform will be ‘left behind’ versus 41% overall​.

Interestingly, while most agree the Metaverse is here to stay, interaction with the Metaverse is low​. There is still work to be done to develop trust and understanding of the Metaverse, which will likely grow as it becomes more widespread.  Only a third of European consumers (34%) think the Metaverse is just a trend that will quickly pass and around two-thirds (61%) think the Metaverse will change the way we interact with other people online​.

Some questions to be thinking about:

  1. How would your business model and/or organisation, be impacted if there was more time spent interacting, transacting and socialising in virtual worlds?
  2. What value could be created by brands for their customer communities? Would you be a participant or a service provider?
  3. What are the authentic experiences and services that brands could offer in a virtual ecosystem?

To learn more about the latest European consumer habits and sentiments, take a look at our Consumer Compass Europe report. If you’re looking to learn more about what consumers think about the Metaverse, we recommend our Metaverse report (UK, USA and Europe).

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