Protiviti-Oxford survey: Global leaders place bets on the metaverse, North America goes all in
- Two-thirds of all global business leaders say the metaverse will have a significant economic impact overall and be important to their company’s business success over the next decade.
- A stunning 82% of executives in North America say they are already using the metaverse for business, compared to just over a third in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
- Of all the emerging technologies that will enable the metaverse business leaders ranked Augmented, Virtual & Extended Reality and Artificial Intelligence as the top two potential game-changers.
Despite the “on again, off again” nature of the metaverse hype cycles over the last 18 months, there’s a healthy consensus among global business leaders that it will have a significant economic impact and contribute to their company’s overall business success over the next decade, according to findings of the Protiviti-Oxford survey, “Executive Outlook on the Metaverse, 2033 and Beyond.”
Fully two-thirds (66%) of respondents say the metaverse will have either a somewhat significant or significant impact on global business by 2033. That same percentage says it also will be important to their companies’ overall business success over the next decade. The vast majority of the remaining respondents said the metaverse would have a moderate impact, with only 2% saying it will have little to no impact on their business success over the next decade.
The survey reveals that business leaders in North America are well ahead of the game in metaverse matters: The data shows enthusiasm about and current engagement with the metaverse in the region is considerably and consistently higher than elsewhere.
The coming decade may decide whether caution is a virtue, or an opportunity lost, but North American executives aren’t waiting around to find out—65% say they already have a metaverse strategy in place, far outpacing Europe (32%) and Asia-Pacific (27%). Half of Europe’s business leaders and 40% of executives in Asia-Pacific say they’ll have metaverse strategy solidified in three to five years. In North America, that number is 17%.
When it comes to current metaverse usage, the vast majority of executives in North America (82%) say they already are using the metaverse for business purposes, compared to just over a third in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
The continental divide continues when we ask about plans to launch products and services in the metaverse:
- Just over half of the leaders surveyed in Europe (58%) and Asia-Pacific (51%) have no immediate or short-term plans to develop any apps, products or services for the metaverse
- Over three-quarters (78%) of leaders in North America say they do
Of North American executives say they already are using the metaverse for business purposes, compared to just over a third in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Meanwhile, more than two-thirds (68%) of North American business leaders say they’re already using the metaverse externally for customer engagement; it’s less than a third in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Similar to their metaverse strategy timelines, 52% of executives in Europe and 42% in Asia-Pacific say they envision using the metaverse for customer engagement in about three to five years.
Customer and employee engagement
When asked to classify the metaverse in terms of its overall importance to the customer experience and sustaining customer loyalty, 70% of leaders globally said it would be somewhat or extremely important over the next 10 years.
- Overall, 45% of global business leaders say they already have begun using the metaverse to engage with customers
- 20% say they’ll start in one to two years
- 32% say their timeline is three to five years
When given a series of responses and asked to select the top two ways they anticipate using the metaverse for customer engagement, 79% said for Marketing/Advertising—by far the top selection—followed by Immersive Shopping/Product Simulations (43%). The other selections were: Conferences/Trade Shows (40%), Entertainment Experiences (23%) and Gamification (14%).
As far as their own employees, nearly three quarters (73%) of respondents think their company’s human resources operations—including recruitment, training and development—will change either somewhat significantly or significantly because of the metaverse over the next decade.
Asked to select the top two ways internal employee engagement would change because of the metaverse, Immersive Training & Learning came out on top (54%), while Collaboration (45%), Recruitment (41%) and Company Events (35%) were not far behind.
of executives globally say the metaverse will be somewhat or extremely important over the next 10 years.
Emerging metaverse technologies
Which emerging technologies those customers and employees will engage with remains to be seen, but executives told us they are most excited about the potential of Augmented, Virtual & Extended Reality (65%) and Artificial Intelligence (58%). Other technologies include the Internet of Things (28%), Blockchain (23%), Edge Computing/5G (15%) and 3D Reconstruction/Digital Twins (10%). Interestingly, Augmented, Virtual & Extended Reality was the top choice in Asia-Pacific; it was Artificial Intelligence in Europe and North America.
roadblocks to metaverse adoption
When executives consider what factors could potentially put the brakes on their metaverse plans, Cost (44%) is the biggest roadblock. Perhaps, not surprisingly, Privacy/Security (42%) is next, followed by Interoperability (34%), Technology Infrastructure (30%), User Experience/Enthusiasm (25%), Regulations/Agreement on Standards (15%), and Miniaturization of Devices (10%). Interestingly, while Cost is the No. 1 concern in Europe and North America, it was No. 5 in Asia-Pacific, ranked behind Technology Infrastructure, Privacy/Security, Interoperability, and User Experience/Enthusiasm.
Cost (44%) and security and Privacy (42%) are seen as the biggest roadblocks to metaverse adoption.