Why brands investing in the metaverse now will have a long-lasting advantage, according to McKinsey

Why brands investing in the metaverse now will have a long-lasting advantage, according to McKinsey

New research by McKinsey & Co shows that although the metaverse may yet to be even defined it will nonetheless disrupt almost every business sector and could grow up to US$5 trillion by 2030.

The report, ‘Value Creation in the Metaverse’, examines what it describes as ‘the massive, global impact of the metaverse across key sectors and businesses’.

It shows e-commerce as the largest economic force (US$2.6 trillion), ahead of sectors such as virtual learning (US$270 billion), advertising (US$206 billion), and gaming (US$125 billion).

First mover advantage

It also looks at what first movers are doing. One of the report’s conclusions is that brands investing now will create a long-lasting advantage in the metaverse, which has the potential to unleash the next wave of digital disruption.

The metaverse is essentially the internet in 3D. Virtual reality will play a major part in its shape and applications. Marketers will play, and already are playing, a key role in shaping the future of the metaverse, whether through the creation of event spaces, live events such as festivals, or NFTs.

The report, which sets out what the metaverse is and what it is not, builds on multiple proprietary insights and analysis. It includes a survey of more than 3,400 consumers and executives on adoption of the metaverse, its potential, and its likely impact on behaviour.

The researchers also interviewed metaverse builders and industry experts.

“The metaverse represents a strategic inflection point for companies, and it presents a significant opportunity to influence the way we live, connect, learn, innovate, and collaborate,” said Eric Hazan, senior partner, McKinsey & Company.

“Our ambition is to help leaders of both consumer and B2B companies better understand its power and potential, identify strategic imperatives, and act as a force for its evolution.”

How consumers are using the metaverse

Consumers are already there. McKinsey’s research shows consumers are excited about transitioning life into the metaverse, with almost six in ten (59%) consumers preferring at least one metaverse experience over its physical alternative.

Among the consumers in the survey, certain types of activities stand out for being most preferred in the immersive world:

  • shopping or purchasing physical or virtual goods (79%)
  • attending virtual social events or playing social games (78%)
  • exercising using virtual reality (76%).

Already, more than three billion gamers worldwide have access to different versions of the metaverse.

Impact on business

Business leaders already see the metaverse’s potential to drive impact and margin growth. Ninety-five percent of leaders say they expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on their industry within five to ten years, with 31 percent saying the metaverse will fundamentally change the way their industry operates.

More significantly, a quarter of leaders expect metaverse technology to drive more than 15 percent of their organization’s total margin growth in the next five years.

Investment in the metaverse is accelerating. In the first five months of this year, companies, venture capital, and private equity firms have invested more than US$120 billion in the metaverse – more than double the US$57 billion invested in all of last year.