Apr 14 2022
The metaverse may already be here in some form, but what will the future of this virtual world look like? We asked young Europeans what they think…
It’s almost impossible to avoid headlines about the metaverse these days as the concept remains the buzziest marketing buzzword out there. But while brands from Adidas to Absolut Vodka to Repossi have all jumped in (and that’s just in the last week), the question remains: what even is the metaverse—and what do young Europeans think about it? YPulse’s recently explored all of this in our WE Metaverse trend report where we found that, while the “true” metaverse—a.k.a. a fully immersive digital world—is still very much in the making, Gen Z and Millennials are already spending a huge amount of time in virtual spaces. In fact, 85% of Gen Z and 73% of Millennials tell YPulse they play video games that bring them a virtual world (with Fornite and Minecraft being their top two)—and they’ve been embracing brands who market to them inside these games. But as tech companies, brands, and experts all scramble to define exactly what the metaverse is or will be, we wanted to know what young Europeans think the future of the metaverse will look like. Here’s what they had to say:
Again, the metaverse is still largely a concept in the process of being turned into a reality, and young Europeans’ ideas on what it might look like are similarly unformed. When asked what they think the future of the metaverse will look like, Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe are fairly divided on whether it will be a single, connected virtual space where a variety of things happen or a collection of spaces, each used for a specific purpose. When asked which of these spaces they’d prefer, however, they’re more likely to say they want to spend their time in a single, connected metaverse (67%) rather than the alternative (33%). However it shakes out, young Europeans have some ideas about they’ll be spending their time in the metaverse:
The top thing young Europeans think they’ll be doing in the metaverse is hang out with friends—and it’s something they’re already doing: 48% of young Europeans say they hang out virtually in video games with their friends. This is even higher among Gen Z, 58% of whom say they’re already doing this. The top ways they’re doing this is through the audio, video, and chat features in the game, but 28% of Gen Z and Millennials say they’re already using an avatar to interact through a virtual world, meaning these generations are primed for a fully immersive metaverse reality.
More than socializing, many young Europeans also think their day-to-day duties and activities will move into the metaverse, including going to work and even school. But they also see a future where their metaverse activities create IRL returns—42% of Gen Z and 37% of Millennials see themselves shopping for clothes in virtual worlds that will be delivered to them IRL, and a third believe they’ll be shopping for food virtually that will arrive physically. Young Europeans have expressed interest in AR-enhanced shopping experiences for a while now, and a recent Snapchat survey found that 93% of British Gen Z are interested in using AR to shop and 88% are interested in using AR to try on makeup or clothes. Brands from Ulta Beauty to ASOS to John Lewis & Partners have all dabbled in virtual try-ons, in part as a response to shopping moving online during the pandemic. But with young Europeans seeing this as the future of virtual worlds, this could become a full reality.
Young Europeans also think they’ll be shopping for digital products in the metaverse, which is no surprise since they already are. 39% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe have already shopped for digital products in these spaces, and another 38% say that while they haven’t yet opened their virtual wallets, they’re interested in doing so. Millennials are more likely to think they’ll be buying NFTs/cryptocurrency/digital land, which is an activity they’re already doing, while both gens (but Gen Z especially) think they’ll be shopping for digital clothing. Among those who have shopped, their top purchase is clothing and accessories for their digital avatars, which are increasingly becoming extensions of themselves, meaning what these gens wear in the metaverse is nearly as important as what they wear in real life.
YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full WE Metaverse trend report and data here.
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