GLOBAL – The growing use of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality will prompt companies to invest in new capabilities to blend the physical and virtual worlds or risk being left behind, according to findings from a recent global survey from Accenture.
The survey of more than 11,000 consumers in 16 countries found that while nearly two-thirds (64%) had purchased virtual goods or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year, this figure is expected to increase, with 83% expressing an interest in making purchases through the metaverse.
Additionally, 42% of respondents said they visited a retailer in the virtual world for advice, to make a payment, or to browse a range of products when purchasing a physical item, while 56% of respondents plan to do so next year. Among millennials, these numbers 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 Businessmore than half (55%) of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving to digital spaces.
In response, the vast majority (90%) of retail executives say they expect big companies to push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for perseverance and seamless navigation between digital and physical worlds.
Additionally, some 72% of global leaders say the Metaverse will have a positive impact on their organizations, with 45% believing it will be “revolutionary” or “transformational”.
The survey also found that half (50%) of consumers said they were 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 entertainment, 54% of consumers say they buy or are interested in buying tickets for a concert, show or sporting event taking place in a virtual world.
“The era of the metaverse has begun and so for consumer-facing businesses, it’s not about deciding if they’re going to enter the metaverse, it’s about deciding how,” said Jill Standish, director Senior General Manager and Global Head of Accenture’s Retail Industry Group. .
“Retailers and brands will need to reinvent and experiment with what new immersive and consultative experiences might mean for consumers. For example, retailers can create a personalized experience by offering a live shopping event where customers can sit next to a brand ambassador and then immediately be able to enter a 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 is important to recognize that the Metaverse is not intended to replace physical travel, but rather to provide an enhancement complementary to an overall experience that over time can become an integral part of the travel ecosystem.
“Through ‘try-before-you-travel‘recreating landmarks in all their past glory or allowing travelers to explore parts of nature they can’t explore in real-world interaction, the metaverse can also help create a more travel experience. that meets and exceeds customer expectations.