How are consumers defining and thinking about the metaverse?
October 3rd, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

How are consumers defining and thinking about the metaverse?

In a new report, Unlocking the Metaverse, YouGov explores the opportunities that the metaverse has in store for consumers and brands.

The metaverse has potential to touch a wide range of industries—from gaming and sports, through retail and fashion, to travel, financial services and advertising—but it’s far from being fully-formed. An understanding of why and how people will use it will be vital for brands looking to create an advantage for themselves.

The new whitepaper does this at a critical time in the metaverse’s early life cycle. When surveying respondents in the UK and US, YouGov defined the metaverse as virtual worlds where you can create an electronic version of yourself and interact in these worlds on your devices—whether it be for work, play, relaxation or socializing.

Click here to discover more about metaverse audiences.

Let’s lay the foundation for consumer awareness and understanding of the metaverse, as well as analyze their conceptions of what the platform is capable of.

Awareness and understanding of the metaverse

More than half of consumers in the UK (57%) and the US (52%) have heard of the metaverse. In both the US & UK, younger generations are more likely than older generations to indicate an awareness of the Metaverse, presumably due to greater interests in and involvement with technology, social media and gaming.

While there's broad awareness of the metaverse as a concept, just a portion of metaverse-aware consumers in the UK (37%) say they can confidently describe the metaverse to others. Among a similar audience, greater than two in five (45%) US consumers express confidence in being able to relate what the metaverse is to someone else.

That leaves us with a majority of the metaverse-aware populations in the US (55%) and UK (63%) who are not confident in being to explain what it is to others.

With the metaverse still in the early stages of its development, what do people think it actually is?

We asked people about their ideas of the metaverse and the highest proportion of metaverse-aware consumers in both the UK (29%) and US (24%) envision it to closely resemble a ‘virtual reality experience.’ The second most popular descriptor of the metaverse is that it resembles a video game (UK: 14%; US: 13%), followed by conceptions that it is a social media platform (UK: 5%; US: 9%) or a virtual meeting room (UK: 5%; US: 7%).

We also surveyed the broader conceptions that people associate with the metaverse and the data shows metaverse-aware consumers see a strong tie to Facebook (UK: 43%; US: 33%).

A higher share of the US audience recognizes the commercial potential of the platform for activities such as buying and selling things, using cryptocurrencies in transactions and earning money/making a living in the metaverse when compared to metaverse-aware UK consumers (20% vs. 16%).

Notably, there are differing opinions of whether the metaverse parallels reality or offers an escape from it. Roughly three in 10 metaverse-aware consumers in the UK (35%) and US (29%) say the metaverse is quite similar to the real world. On the other hand, some people hold conceptions that it’s somewhere you can be anyone and do anything you want (UK: 38%; US: 30%) or just for escaping real life (UK: 15%; US: 18%).

We’ve seen plenty of hype and conversations around the metaverse this year and YouGov data shows this has translated to a high rate of awareness among consumers. Still, there’s confusion and mixed ideas around what the metaverse is and can do, though this can be seen as an opportunity for brands to bridge these gaps in understanding before the metaverse fully takes shape.

Download the latest YouGov analysis, sourced from our proprietary custom research and enriched with YouGov Profiles, on the UK and US Metaverse future and learn:

  • The top reasons people are entering the Metaverse
  • Which brands resonate most with Metaverse Trialists & Metaverse Curious audience segments
  • The activities, attitudes, and desires driving current and potential users into the Metaverse
  • The motivations and concerns of various audiences across the Metaverse adoption cycle

Explore our living data – for free.

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