Metaverse adoption accelerates: 42% of Gen Z now engage with brands via web3

Metaverse adoption is accelerating at pace with two fifths (42%) of Gen Z now interacting with brands in retail’s newest dimension, according to new research from the Retail Technology Show, retail’s golden ticket event taking place on 26 & 27 April 2023 at London’s Olympia.

Original research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Retail Technology Show revealed that while almost a fifth (19%) of UK consumers already interact with brands in the Metaverse, more than double (42%) of Gen Z shoppers engage with brands using web3, as Metaverse adoption among younger shoppers accelerates.  Meanwhile adoption amongst Millennials rose to over a quarter (27%).

With McKinsey estimating the Metaverse will generate $5trillion in value by 2030, retailers have already started making web3 plays, from Nike’s Nikeland to Gucci Town, and brands including Ralph Lauren, which designed a digital fashion line inside South Korean social network Zepeto, and Estée Lauder, that participated in Decentraland’s Metaverse Art Week, are just some of the retailers set to dip their toes into web3.

As more brands create Metaverse activations, adoption of the channel is becoming increasingly mainstream; of the shoppers polled by the Retail Technology Show who had already interacted with brands in the Metaverse, 78% are now transacting within the channel, having already made a purchase.  Two fifths (40%) had bought a physical product in the Metaverse that they planned to use in the ‘realverse’ (real world), rising to 54% of Gen Z, while a further 40% had also collected digital currency, via free reward redemptions or digital tokens collected in the Metaverse, also rising to 48% of Gen Z.  Meanwhile a third (33%) had already bought a Non Fungible Token (NFT) product from the brands they interact with in the Metaverse.

Matt Bradley, Event Director for the Retail Technology Show, commented:

“There’s little doubt that the Metaverse is now firmly in the realms of mainstream commerce, and brands and retailers are creating brand-rich and meaningful ways to evolve how they engage and interact with shoppers in this new retail dimension.  While before we may have seen social, gaming and shopping missions combine, increasingly consumers are seeing the Metaverse as a transactional space to consume products – both digital and physical – that serve them in both their real and virtual worlds.”

When it came to how shoppers wanted to interact with brands in the Metaverse moving forwards, trying out new looks, such as for fashion or make-up, on their digital avatar topped the poll for 41%.  Over a quarter (26%) wanted to experience digital brand ‘events’, such as concerts or gigs, in the virtual world, while 19% said they wanted to use the platform as a way to meet and socialise with other users, and a further 19% wanted to explore digital replicas of retailers’ flagship stores.  This was followed by 18% who wanted to build personalised products that are unique to them or their digital avatar.

Having founded thirdweb, an agency specialising in the web3 app space in 2021, Dragon’s Den star and Retail Technology Show headline speaker, Steven Bartlett, will be discussing the impact of the Metaverse on retail in his keynote session on Day 2.  Speaking to Customer Whisperer, Kate Hardcastle MBE, on the Headline Stage, Bartlett will outline the importance of Metaverse in retailers’ forward-looking strategies and discuss why they should be taking web3 and NFTs seriously.

Bringing together the brightest minds in retail with the most transformative technologies, the 2023 Retail Technology Show is a one-stop-shop for innovation, with 300+ innovators – from tech’s biggest players to fast-growth disruptors showcasing their transformative solutions.

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