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Digital Consumer Trends 2022

The metaverse does not need virtual reality or web3, but they may help

Deloitte Digital Consumer Trends is a global survey on technology, media and telecommunications. Fieldwork takes place annually to ask people how they use, experience, and buy digital products. In the UK, questions were asked to a nationally representative sample of 4,160 people between April and May 2022.

In this special report, Deloitte will cover the metaverse, virtual reality, and web3 (i.e. blockchain-based assets like Bitcoin). It asks how many people really understand what the metaverse is, and who could be left behind. It looks at VR headset adoption, barriers to headset sales, and barriers to regular usage of those headsets. Finally, it speculates what role web3 should play, if any, to make connections between separate metaverse siloes. Download our full report to explore these technologies, and how to make them purpose driven.

Arguably, early metaverses already exist in the form of sandbox games. Young people, in particular, are flocking to them. Not because they want to replicate and replace real-world activities, like meetings or exercise. But because a metaverse allows them to have social and competitive experiences that are outside of the norm. Virtual reality and web3 may have a role to play in the metaverse, but they are not fundamental, and the metaverse may not wait for them to catch up. Purpose is key to adoption.

Ben Stanton

Every day, hundreds of millions of people gather in virtual worlds to socialise, play and spend money. If these worlds, such as sandbox games, are early versions of the metaverse, then it is already successful and does not need VR or web3. How, then, should VR and web3 contribute?

For VR, it about more than adoption; it is about making sure people use their headsets regularly. Content is key, and ‘multi-platform’ social experiences that allow people to participate on whatever device they prefer would improve the utility of headsets. For web3, it is about disappearing into the background, amid a lack of consumer knowledge and trust. Digital goods also need to have clear utility in more than one virtual place to justify a web3 bridge.

VR and web3 may yet contribute to the metaverse, but they need to be purpose-driven, not a pre-requisite. Only then, would they make a metaverse, into a ‘better-verse’.

Question asked: How familiar are you with the concept of the metaverse?

Key findings


This year's research revealed that:

  • 63% of respondents have heard of the term "metaverse". However, roughly half of those know nothing about it.
  • Only 18% of VR headsets are used daily, from the 8% of individuals that claim to have access to one.
  • Consumers may be wary of web 3. While most people (93%) have heard of cryptocurrency, only one in five (19%) know at least a "fair amount" about it. Knowledge of NFTs is rarer still.
  • 70% of those who have heard of these assets say they are unlikely to buy them in the next, and cite fraud, scams and a lack of regulation as key concerns.

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