PwC 2022 US Metaverse Survey

Build a metaverse strategy to deliver sustainable business outcomes

You may have heard that the metaverse is the next big thing, but in fact, several metaverse-related technologies already offer significant business opportunities. Other elements are still surrounded by enormous uncertainty. In PwC’s survey of over 5,000 US consumers and 1,000 US business leaders, 50% of consumers call the metaverse exciting, and 66% of executives report that their companies are actively engaged. These companies are building proofs of concept, testing use cases and even generating revenue from metaverse environments or (more commonly) the underlying technologies. Eighty-two percent of executives expect metaverse plans to be part of their business activities within three years.

Side project or fundamental to strategy?

Two-thirds of company leaders tell us they’ve moved beyond metaverse experimentation, and within a few years, most say their metaverse efforts will be fully integrated across the business.

Who’s betting on the metaverse…

Click on any dot to explore.

…and when they expect it to be business as usual
*Actively engaged defined as either building proofs of concepts, implementing use cases or generating revenue from transactions.
Source: PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey, July 2022. Q. Which of the following best describes your company’s level of activity relating to the metaverse? Thinking about your company’s metaverse plans, when do you expect these to be embedded fully and part of your company’s business activities? Base: All respondents (1,004)
Note: Totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding

While these numbers might look impressive (and ambitious), it’s important to keep in mind that the “ultimate” version of the metaverse (fully immersive, with seamless and secure transitions among a multitude of metaverse environments) doesn’t exist yet. Some metaverse elements are entering everyday business activities, but we’re still in early stages. Consumers are excited about the metaverse as a concept, but their loyalty is very much up for grabs. Only 9% say they currently use any of the existing environments. As is true for business leaders, the ways consumers describe the metaverse vary widely.

This lack of consensus around the metaverse is common for emerging and disruptive technology, where the parts often advance before the whole. That’s likely why we’re seeing so many companies successfully focus on operationalizing key components and building blocks of an expanded view of the metaverse, such as augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Some of these technologies have matured enough to enhance consumer and employee experiences, help gather and record transactions, open up new marketing and sales channels, and more.

“It will transform and expand our company, generate more revenues and create sustainability.”

Chief technology officer, technology industry
How business leaders and consumers describe their knowledge of the metaverse
Source: PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey, July 2022. Q. How would you best describe your understanding of the term ‘the metaverse’? Bases: 1,004 business executives; 5,212 consumers

If the metaverse will indeed either revolutionize business or be the next incarnation of the internet, as more than half of business executives say, then the stakes are high. Decisions made now could define your role in web3 and the digital economy for decades to come. You’ll want to think big and, as you build out the metaverse elements that can generate benefit today, also position yourself for the metaverse’s full potential tomorrow. Similar to how the internet developed, there may be several cycles of speculation and disillusion before disruption spreads and the true value appears. It will be important not to “fall for hype” and misallocate capital.

Based on the survey data and our experience helping companies work both with metaverse environments and the underlying technologies, we have four sets of ideas that can help.

Build metaverse foundations: Set people and tech priorities

Companies are prioritizing metaverse hiring, customer research and upskilling as much or even more than their investments in metaverse-related technology. That’s wise, since technology is only an enabler. It’s the accompanying processes and skills that determine its value. Still, consumer uptake for many metaverse-related technologies is surging. Twelve percent have bought a VR headset in the previous two years, and VR is just one way to enter the metaverse. Apps can increasingly enable metaverse experiences through your laptop or phone. The speedy advance of VR, web3, blockchain, crypto, NFTs and other technologies that enhance metaverse activities may be a sign that the metaverse itself can grow and scale quickly.

“I think exploring nature, maybe planning a trip through the metaverse would be really interesting, a way to get a taste of what I want to do in real life.”

Male consumer, 29

Do you have the people + tech to power your business strategy?

Companies are beginning to create and hire for roles focused on the metaverse and digital assets, along with investing in tech building blocks like tools for building virtual environments.

Top priorities for capitalizing on the metaverse
Source: PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey, July 2022. Q. Which, if any, of the following activities does your company plan to do within the next 12 months to support your metaverse plans? Base: Those with metaverse-related plans (861)

“All new things are scary at first. We must experience and allow trials to convince people that the metaverse is here to stay.”

CTO, power and utilities

Companies are also advancing on related organizational changes. Thirty-two percent plan to hire or appoint a “metaverse leader,” and 51% already have designated roles that focus (even if not always exclusively) on metaverse activity. Similar numbers have roles focused on cryptocurrency or NFTs. The rise of these roles is encouraging, but real metaverse value requires more than assigning responsibilities to a tech visionary. You need structures to combine skills, technology and internal processes to deliver metaverse business outcomes.

Where companies stand on key talent

Where tech components fit in companies’ strategies
Source: PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey, July 2022. Q. Does your company have any designated roles to focus on activity within the use of the metaverse, cryptocurrency or NFTs? Base: 1,004; To what extent are the following technologies embedded in your company’s strategy? Base: 1,004
Note: Totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

“Innovation and technology will be key to achieve a reliable, high-quality and safe metaverse.”

Chief data officer, industrial manufacturing

What your company can do

  • Get payback today and position for tomorrow. As you focus on those metaverse elements that can provide immediate benefits — whether through brand building, e-commerce, data gathering or an enhanced work environment — make sure that you’re also building toward a fully immersive metaverse that is expected to cross multiple, interoperable environments tomorrow.
  • Invest flexibly in the tech. The metaverse works best with specialized technologies, but it doesn’t always need them, and most have other applications as well. Cryptocurrencies, for example, are used outside the metaverse — and some metaverse transactions work fine with credit cards. The right organizational approach to metaverse technologies can enable flexibility and offer both near- and long-term benefits.
  • Make your design unbounded. Just replicating your existing office or web presence in the metaverse isn’t worth the effort at this point. Instead, use the metaverse as an additional dimension of your corporate and brand expression and a chance to rethink ways of working, engaging customers and strengthening your brand and workforce experience to take full advantage of an all-new, immersive digital world. Make sure that there is baseline consistency among your channels and digital presences so that you do not dilute your brand.
What do your customers want from the metaverse?

What do your customers want from the metaverse?

Customer link

What do your customers want from the metaverse?

Tap into insights tailored to your customer base and target market with Customer Link, which includes a robust metaverse data set and consumer profiles for 280MM+ US adults.

See the product

Drive metaverse outcomes: meet business needs and consumer desires

Most consumers already express interest in the experiences and services that the metaverse could give them. Many are also willing to look to the metaverse to discover new brands and buy and sell physical products. But most businesses aren’t planning to provide what consumers most want like the excitement of virtual travel or the convenience of interacting in the metaverse with health providers, customer service agents and familiar brands. Business leaders tend to be more focused on internal activities such as training, collaboration and onboarding. That may seem like a way to “play it safe,” but if your customers are excited about the metaverse, it may be time to start giving them what they want.

“I would definitely like to be able to attend a sporting event and have that feeling of sitting courtside … that’s something I wouldn’t get to experience in real life.”

Male consumer, 29

“The metaverse will force companies to completely reinvent how they think about training.”

VP finance, insurance industry

How we’ll engage with the metaverse

Not quite on the same page? Business leaders are most interested in enterprise use cases like employee onboarding while consumers look to expanded access and customer service.

What businesses plan to do

What consumers want
Source: PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey, July 2022. Businesses: Q. Thinking about how your company could interact in the metaverse, which, if any, of the following is your company most likely to explore? Base: 1,004; Consumer: Q. Below is a list of some of the activities that innovators say you will be able to do in the metaverse. For each one, please indicate how interested or otherwise you would be in conducting this activity in the metaverse, Base: All respondents (5,212) [only showing % of those who selected they were somewhat or very interested or already do this activity in the metaverse]

“I live in a rural area so the thought of just being able to put my measurements in and try clothes on virtually would be awesome.”

Female consumer, 33

Starting with internally-focused metaverse initiatives does offer some advantages. It can be lower cost and lower risk to try something out and gather data on results when all the participants are your employees. Internal training and meetings — through VR headsets or on desktop systems — can also help build familiarity with metaverse components and refine processes as needed. Still, even if you begin with these and other enterprise use cases, your customers may want a metaverse experience. It can be possible to satisfy both needs at the same time and keep a consistent and unique metaverse brand.

“We will make more connections with customers on extended reality platforms and let our businesses deliver new experiences and give information to our customers in new ways.”

CEO, technology industry

What your company can do

  • Stay true to your brand. For metaverse newcomers, the highest return way to start is often to build on your existing brand presence to enter the metaverse. You may wish, for example, to enhance current marketing and loyalty programs with personalized metaverse storefronts, token-gated communities and immersive experiences, including education and discovery of your products, services or brands.

  • Use metaverse data with care. Decentralization, 3D experiences and new solutions can offer troves of data. The right metaverse data strategy can help identify and anticipate customer desires and their preferred channels, so long as you address consumer privacy, security and control concerns.

  • Craft a metaverse pricing strategy. New metaverse-specific pricing strategies can help increase revenue, whether that revenue is from virtual goods and services, access to virtual experiences or access to virtual channels to sell physical goods and services.

Address metaverse risks: Build and spread trust

It’s a common challenge for a new set of technologies and applications: You’re not sure which risks exist, which to prioritize and where to start. There’s no consensus among either business leaders or consumers around top concerns — no single threat was cited by more than 39% of either group — but cyber and privacy concerns topped both groups’ lists. Consumers are clear on what would build metaverse trust for them: identity and data protection, security protocols and control over their own data. That matches what consumers want to trust tech in general.

Source: PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey, July 2022. Q. You indicated you are concerned about the following challenges. Please rank your top 3 concerns, where 1 is the biggest concern. Base: Those with concerns about interacting with the metaverse (993); Which of the following would have the greatest impact in establishing trust in the metaverse? Base: 1,004; Which of the following would have the greatest impact in building your trust in the metaverse? Base: 5,212

“Our ability to ensure that both our data and customers’ data will be kept safe would have the greatest impact on our ability to operate successfully in the metaverse in the future.”

Managing director, professional services industry

If your company is active in the metaverse, or planning to be, act quickly to build trust and decrease risks. New metaverse challenges require swift action to protect intellectual property, financial transactions, customer data, the customer experience and more. You may also need new processes for the compliance challenges, tax requirements and third party risks of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) requirements, for example, may demand new partners, controls and skills for digital assets in a decentralized digital world.

"I don’t really trust anyone on the internet unless they are verified. So if there was a way to verify people in the metaverse that would be ideal.”

Male consumer, 41

What your company can do

  • Embed trust by design. Rather than first building an application, then identifying and mitigating risks, design trust from the start into your approach to metaverse data, transactions, experiences and more. This approach should drive long-term cost efficiencies in addition to mitigating risks upfront.
  • Identify your risk taxonomy. Many new metaverse risks are common to most companies, but you should set your own priorities. Assess your company’s unique metaverse risk-mitigation needs, with a special focus on these key areas: user identification and authentication, security and data privacy, commercialization, user experience, community guidelines and monitoring, governance, controls, and reporting.

  • Give these key players a seat at the table. As with any digital transformation, tax, security, privacy, risk and compliance specialists should be involved with metaverse initiatives from the get go. Their early participation is critical since it may not be clear how existing and potential rules fit into the multi-component metaverse. To take just one example, digital assets, common in metaverse environments, also implicate novel characterization, indirect tax, transfer pricing and reporting considerations that your tax specialists should address early both to decrease risks and potentially find new value.

Define your metaverse strategy: Get ready for a new digital world

Business leaders are thinking big about the metaverse. More than half say it will either be the next incarnation of the internet or revolutionize businesses. As we see it, this revolution will really be more of an evolution, taking place over several years with different components maturing at different times. That’s why strategies should contain both a long-term vision, with designs for the future web3, and a practical path to invest in technologies, skills and use cases that can deliver specific business outcomes today. As you gain experience with these building blocks, you can also work to anticipate your customers’ desires for when a fully immersive metaverse becomes reality.

Business leaders think the metaverse…

Consumers have mixed views
Source: PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey, July 2022. Q. Which of the following statements about the metaverse do you believe is most likely? Base: 1,004; Thinking about the metaverse, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Base: 5212

“We need a true commitment from senior management and the board of directors for future metaverse success.”

CIO, entertainment and media industry

Today, most consumers worry about the metaverse’s societal implications (such as online hate, discrimination, sexual predators) and say that it’s just for younger people, but roughly half also say that it’s exciting and will accelerate the use of digital assets. Only two fifths call it a fad and only a third express skepticism that a true metaverse will be achieved. This vision, of optimism mixed with fear, may reflect experience with the internet, which advanced quickly — but often at a cost. For the metaverse, it may be that the companies that will enjoy lasting success will get two things right: They’ll use the metaverse and its component technologies to create products, services and experiences that truly transform the brand-consumer relationship, and they’ll act early to make sure that these initiatives inspire trust.

“Those companies that do not adopt the metaverse early must make greater investments to try to capture market share.”

President, technology industry

What your company can do

  • Be relevant. Even if it’s often wisest to start by extending current activities into the metaverse, lasting success is more likely to come from offering new products and experiences that can only exist in the metaverse and that truly change how people live their diverse lives.

  • Be useful. Consider developing products and services that offer lasting utility — ones that people, communities, or companies will turn to again and again for information, services, entertainment and convenience.

  • Be purposeful. Customers may trust you more if you integrate a corporate purpose that reflects their values into your metaverse activities. The metaverse could, for example, help reduce your carbon footprint (by making physical activities virtual) and help verify and present ESG data.

About the survey

PwC’s inaugural 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey examined the awareness, attitudes, plans and actions of the metaverse concept, use cases and related technologies. The survey was fielded by PwC Research from April through May 2022 and surveyed more than 5,000 US consumers and 1,000 business executives.The consumers were ages 21 and up, mirroring the US general population and were split evenly among income levels, genders, ages and employment status. Among business respondents, 64% are in business roles and 36% in technology roles, and they span industrial products and services (31%), retail and consumer (20%), financial services (16%), technology, media and telecom, energy (15%), utilities and mining (9%), and health (8%).

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Are you taking the right approach to the metaverse? Contact us to learn more about this evolving technology and what these opportunities can mean for your business.

Get in touch

Roberto Hernandez

Principal, Customer Transformation - Chief Innovation Officer, PwC US


Emmanuelle Rivet

Incoming PwC US Chief Risk Officer, PwC US


Dan Priest

Cloud & Digital Leader, PwC US


Vikram Panjwani

Digital Assurance and Transparency Partner, PwC US


George Korizis

Customer Transformation Leader, PwC US


Scott Likens

PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Leader and US Trust Technology Leader, PwC US


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