People can't explain what the metaverse is but are very excited for it

Friends enjoying the metaverse, whatever that is.
(Image credit: Getty Images - Sabrina Bracher)

A recent survey shows that many people have heard of "the metaverse," but only a fraction of them can explain what it is. That's not surprising, considering that depending on who you ask, the metaverse is either the next evolution of the internet or mostly nonsense. It lacks a clear definition.

A study from March 2022 by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence called "New Realities Into the Metaverse and Beyond," surveyed over 3,000 people between the ages of 16 and 65 from China, the US, and the United Kingdom about the metaverse, crypto, and NFTs

74% of the people surveyed have heard of the metaverse, which is nearly double from the year prior. The same percentage also thinks that the metaverse "is the future." And yet only 15% of those folks say that they "know what the metaverse is and can explain it to someone else."

Out of those who know what metaverse is, their chief concerns are privacy, data protection, and cyberbullying (for parents), since most of them consider it a digital platform for socializing. Over 50% of the surveyees see the metaverse as a place to work, shop, play, or all the above, and 60% say it will be the future of ecommerce. 

We've seen companies scooping up digital real estate in the so-called metaverse. Most recently, Sketchers became the first apparel company to sign a lease to part of Decentraland's Fashion District, and Nike put up a digital storefront in Roblox. Some brands similarly moved into Second Life many years ago, but it didn't really catch on. (The creator of Second Life recently had a few things to say about history's repetition.)

The proportion of survey takers who said they knew what cryptocurrency is and can explain it to someone else was also 15%. Of that 15%, 42% have owned or currently own digital assets.

One thing I found pretty surprising was a general acceptance of NFTs when related to retail. 60% of those familiar with the metaverse think that brands should be making and selling digital products alongside physical goods. Even with all the current volatility on anything blockchain-related, people see potential in the metaverse, whatever it is. 


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Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware, from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for over ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, Tom's Guide, and a bunch of other places on the world wide web.