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Companies Laying Groundwork for Nascent Metaverse


McKinsey’s report delved into the potential effects on various industries, forecasting a potential $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion market impact on e-commerce by 2030, up to a $206 billion contribution to the advertising market, a possible $125 billion impact in gaming and up to $270 billion in academic virtual learning.

“Companies already leveraging the metaverse may build lasting competitive advantages. Business leaders should develop a strategic stance by defining metaverse goals and the role they want to play; testing, learning and adopting by launching initial activities, monitoring results, and examining user behavior,” the firm suggested.

McKinsey also cited “urgent challenges” for companies, employees, consumers, content creators, developers and governments, noting that workers will need to be reskilled and regions will need to compete for talent and investments.

“The metaverse also has obvious societal implications,” according to the consultancy. “A variety of stakeholders will need to define a road map toward an ethical, safe and inclusive metaverse experience. Guidelines may also be necessary around issues including data privacy, security, ethics and regulatory compliance, physical health and safety, sustainability, and equity and fairness.”

McKinsey surveyed more than 3,000 consumers and 450 senior executives globally about the metaverse and found “significant excitement” about its potential.

Nearly 60% of consumers actively using current, early metaverse environments are excited about shifting everyday activities there, especially social, entertainment, gaming, travel and shopping, the firm found. Companies already are implementing marketing campaigns, employee learning, meetings, events and product design in the metaverse, McKinsey noted.

By 2030, McKinsey said, more than half of all live events could take place in the metaverse, and more than 80% of all commerce could be affected by consumer activities there.

Experts from economics consulting firm Analysis Group, who developed a forecast based on the evolution of previous breakthrough technologies, recently suggested that if metaverse adoption started this year, it could contribute $3.01 trillion in 2015 dollars, or 2.8%, to global gross domestic product in 2031. In the U.S., the metaverse could contribute $560 billion, or 2.3%, to GDP in 2031, the group calculated.

This projection aligns with existing industry projections, which range from $800 billion to $2 trillion for the next few years to longer-term forecasts for $3 trillion to more than $80 trillion, the analysts noted in a report released last month and supported by metaverse champion Meta, formerly Facebook. 

“Like mobile technology, the metaverse is expected to have far-reaching applications, with the potential to transform a wide range of economic sectors such as education, health care, manufacturing, job training, communications, entertainment and retail,” the Analysis Group said in a news release.

Early metaverse components in use now include augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, blockchain and non-fungible tokens, the Analysis Group report added. “These technologies, which are expected to be the backbone of the metaverse and its offerings, are already being used around the world by businesses and creators. As users continue to adopt these technologies, their potential to transform society in unpredictable ways will only accelerate.”

McKinsey called the metaverse “simply too big to be ignored. It will have a major impact on our commercial and personal lives, which is why businesses, policymakers, consumers and citizens are well advised to explore and understand as much as they can about this phenomenon, the technology that will underpin it, and the ramifications it will have for both our economies and wider society.”

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