Marketing in the metaverse – an immersive digital environment, where people can interact in real-time through virtual avatars – has generated considerable buzz today. Brands in the Asia Pacific, from Singapore’s largest bank DBS to the iconic Australian Open, are racing to create distinctive characters and spaces in this virtual realm. Given it’s still too early to speculate what exactly the metaverse will evolve into as part of the “next phase of the internet”, we set out to ask consumers today how open they are to enter into a three-dimensional (3D) virtual world to socialise, work and shop?
Venture into the virtual? Charting consumer interest in Singapore and Australia
Latest research from YouGov RealTime Omnibus commissioned for Greenbook reveals that, as of February 2022, around half of Australians (AU) and Singaporeans (SG) are interested in socialising, working and shopping in a 3D virtual space, although enthusiasm in Australia is lower than that in Singapore.
Across the two markets, interest in virtual shopping is the highest of the three activities (54% in SG, 49% in AU), just ahead of virtual working (52% in SG, 46% in AU) and virtual socialising (48% in SG, 44% in AU).
In terms of gender, men appear to be keener on virtual reality (VR) than women – be it for shopping, working, or socialising – whether in Singapore (70% interest among males, 62% interest among females) or Australia (68% interest among males, 58% interest among females).
In terms of age, as you might expect, interest in VR is highest among younger consumers in Singapore aged 18-34 years (77%). But even though it is lower among older Singaporeans, almost two-thirds of those aged 35-54 years (65%) and more than half of those aged 55 years or older (57%) still express an interest.
The same pattern holds true for Australians, with highest interest among consumers aged 18-34 and 35-49 years (77%). The difference in Australia is that this interest falls away significantly among consumers aged 65 years and older (33%).
Where do people want to visit virtually? Top metaverse destinations as ranked by Singaporeans and Australians
When we asked Singaporeans about the places they would be keen on visiting within a 3D virtual space, more than a third expressed interest in museum and art exhibitions (35%), tourist attractions (34%), as well as clothing and fashion stores (34%). On the other hand, gardening stores (13%), banking and insurance branches (14%), and casinos (15%) are the metaverse destinations which least interest Singaporeans. Meanwhile, only a seventh of consumers in Singapore say they are not interested in visiting any of the listed destinations virtually (14%).
In the case of Australians, more than a quarter of consumers expressed interest for clothing and fashion stores (31%), furniture stores (30%), museums and art exhibitions (28%), and grocery stores and supermarkets (26%). On the other hand, Australians are least interested in visiting casinos (8%), banking and insurance branches (14%), and amusement parks (15%) in the metaverse. Notably, over one fifth of consumers in Australia say they are not interested in visiting any of the listed destinations virtually (22%).
Why would Singaporeans and Australians visit a shop in the metaverse?
We also asked Singaporeans what would interest them in visiting a shop in 3D virtual space and found that not needing to physically travel to a location (53%) and checking out without having to queue in line (52%) are the most compelling factors. Of less interest is the ability to visit more places in a shorter amount of time (47%), and reduced exposure to COVID viral transmission (47%), with personalised recommendations (28%) taking the bottom spot.
Among Australians, not needing to physically travel to a location (41%), being able to visit more places in a shorter amount of time (39%), and reduced exposure to COVID viral transmission (38%) are the most compelling factors. Of less interest is checking out without having to queue in line (28%), while personalised recommendations (20%) are the least important factor among Australians.
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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online between 7-9 February 2022, with a nationally representative sample of 1255 Singaporean residents and 1018 Australian residents, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov.
Singapore data figures have been weighted by age, gender and ethnicity to be representative of all adults residing in Singapore (aged 18+) and reflect the latest Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS) estimates. Australian data figures have been weighted by age, gender and region to be representative of all adults residing in Australia (aged 18+) and reflect the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population estimates. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.