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Metaverse Professional

Executives optimistic about the metaverse despite recent cooldown, finds survey

Despite a recent cooldown in metaverse hype, two-thirds of global business executives surveyed in a joint University of Oxford-Protiviti study say Web 3 and the metaverse will have a significant economic impact and be important to their company’s business success over the next 10 years. 

The survey by global consulting firm Protiviti, conducted in collaboration with the Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, UK, found that 70% of leaders said the metaverse would be somewhat or extremely important for customer experience and loyalty over the next decade. When asked how they anticipate using the metaverse to engage customers, 79% said for ‘marketing/advertising’ purposes. These are not just hypothetical plans – nearly half (45%) of global business leaders reported starting to use the metaverse to engage with customers, with another 20% reporting plans to do so in the next year.

 Alex Weishaupl, a managing director at Protiviti Digital, said: “Marketing and experiential advertising continue to be a natural entry point for companies to start using the metaverse – and adjacent technologies like AR and VR – to improve the quality and types of customer engagement they offer. As with all emerging technologies, we see an on-again, off-again hype cycle, which can contribute uncertainty about the long-term applications of a technology. However, there’s no question that the metaverse will make significant impact to customer experience strategies over the next 10 years.”

Metaverse adoption during the next decade

Not everyone is optimistic about the metaverse. The survey revealed a continental difference when it comes to metaverse enthusiasm. A stunning 85% of surveyed North American executives said the metaverse will be somewhat or extremely important to their future business success. That percentage compares to significantly fewer in Asia Pacific (57%) and Europe (46%).

Dr. David Howard, associate professor at the University of Oxford, said: “Global executive leaders in North America are ahead of the game in metaverse matters: the survey showed that enthusiasm and current engagement in the region is considerably and consistently higher than elsewhere. While North American leaders have already immersed themselves more fully, counterparts in Europe, and especially in Asia Pacific, indicate that although uncertainties partly obscure the benefits of engaging with the metaverse today, the risks of lagging behind are probably far greater.”

The coming decade may decide whether caution is a virtue, or an opportunity lost, but North American executives aren’t waiting to find out. The survey found that 65% of North American executives reported already having a metaverse strategy in place, far outpacing Europe (32%) and Asia Pacific (27%).

Christine Livingston, a managing director in the emerging technology practice at Protiviti, said: “North American business leaders quickly deployed metaverse strategies, but where we’ve seen pullbacks on metaverse projects is where the investment and exploration of the technology weren’t aligned against specific business goals and expected outcomes. When you think about what that first venture into the metaverse may be for your organization, it’s important to start by focusing on a vision and shared objective between technologists, C-suites and other stakeholders. Mapping use cases to business impact is necessary to be able to determine value delivered and if the investment was worthwhile.”

As executives continue to navigate their metaverse strategies, two critical decisions will include deciding which emerging technologies to pilot and anticipating potential roadblocks. In terms of the emerging technologies required to implement the metaverse, executives reported being most excited about ‘augmented, virtual and extended reality’ (65%) and ‘artificial intelligence’ (58%). Cost has so far been the primary roadblock to metaverse implementation, with 44% of executives reporting it as the biggest hurdle. ‘Privacy/security risk’ (42%), ‘interoperability’ (34%), ‘technology infrastructure’ (30%) and ‘user experience/enthusiasm’ (25%) were other top roadblocks reported by executives.

The study surveyed 250 board members, C-suite executives and other business leaders in 15 countries representing 30 different industries about the future of the metaverse. The study was conducted from January to March 2023.

Future of the Metaverse – 2033 and Beyond

The survey report, “Executive Outlook on the Metaverse, 2033 and Beyond” is available for complimentary download at VISION by Protiviti with a free subscription. The report is part of VISION by Protiviti’s months-long exploration of the metaverse future. As part of that exploration, Protiviti has published content featuring thought leaders and luminaries in the emerging technology, metaverse and Web 3 worlds, including:

Visionary Matthew Ball: What Could Go Right; What Could Go Wrong

Opportunities in a Web 3 World With ‘Godmother of the Metaverse’ Cathy Hackl

Metaverse 2030: Will Business Thrive in the ‘Next Internet’, too?

Women in Tech Talent Director on a Diverse Metaverse

Responsible Metaverse Alliance Founder on Ethics, Safety and Governance

Protiviti Roundtable on the Promise, Peril and Potential of the Metaverse

  • JR Symonds

    JR is the senior reporter at Metaverse Professional, providing insight and coverage for all the latest developments in the metaverse and extended reality sectors. JR has a burning passion for the latest immersive tech, particularly developments in world creation and gaming.

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