Successful consumer-facing companies are using immersive technologies to build digital environments that are increasingly realistic and create a greater connection to the physical world

NEW DELHI; May 5, 2022  The growing use of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality will spur consumer-facing companies, such as those in retail, consumer goods and travel, to increase investment in new capabilities and experiences to blend physical and virtual worlds, or risk being left behind, according to the findings of a recent global survey from Accenture (ACN:NYSE).

The survey of more than 11,000 consumers in 16 countries including India found that while almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers had already purchased a virtual good or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year, that figure is expected to rise, as 83% show interest in making purchases via the metaverse. Furthermore, 42% of survey respondents said they had visited a retailer in the virtual world to get advice, make a payment or browse a product range when shopping for a physical item, while 56% of respondents plan to in the next year. Among millennials, these figures increase to 51% and 61% respectively.

According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2022, “Meet Me in the Metaverse: The Continuum of Technology and Experience Reshaping Business,” more than half (55%) of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving into digital spaces. In response, the vast majority (90%) of retail executives say that they anticipate that leading organizations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds. Further, 72% of global executives state that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organizations, with 45% believing it will be breakthrough or transformational.

“As consumers explore the virt-real world, companies that do not actively begin incorporating new immersive experiences into their business strategy now, run the risk of being left behind. By embracing the Metaverse, businesses have the opportunity to reinvent consumer experiences and also transform the way in which products and services are being created and offered,” said Anurag Gupta, managing director and lead - Strategy & Consulting, Accenture in India.

The survey also found that half (50%) of consumers said that they are 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 leisure, 54% of consumers said that they are buying, or interested in buying, tickets to a concert, a show or sporting event taking place in a virtual world.

Manish Gupta, managing director and lead - Products, Accenture in India said, “As an evolving continuum, Metaverse is expected to transform and impact every part of the business value chain – right from reinventing consumer engagement to solving R&D issues and enabling enterprise-wide data analysis to leadership decisions. Consumer-facing companies need to focus on skilling and investing in a robust technology foundation to benefit from the new opportunities that will come up in the future.”

In addition to giving rise to new ways to shop, travel and socialize, virtual products and locations highlights a potential opportunity to grow revenue across industries.

Accenture recently announced the launch of the Accenture Metaverse Continuum business group, which combines metaverse-skilled professionals and market-leading capabilities in customer experience, digital commerce, extended reality, blockchain, digital twins, artificial intelligence and computer vision to help clients design, execute and accelerate their metaverse journeys.

About the Research

Accenture’s Consumer Pulse Survey offers insights into consumer outlook, sentiment, and behaviours two years on from the start of the pandemic (March 2020). This year’s survey is relevant to all consumer industries but is focused on Consumer Goods, Retail and Travel. Accenture surveyed a representative sample of 11,311 consumers from 16 countries: Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam. The survey was conducted online and targeted consumers who have made purchases for their household in the past six months. Respondents were split evenly across gender and age group. This survey was conducted between 7th and 15th February 2022.

For the Accenture Technology Vision 2022, Accenture Research conducted a global survey of 24,000 consumers to capture insights into their use of, interactions with, and beliefs about technology in their everyday lives. In addition, Accenture conducted a survey of 4,650 C-level executives and directors across 23 industries to understand their perspectives and use of emerging technologies across their organizations. The surveys were fielded from December 2021 through January 2022 across 35 countries.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 699,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.

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