New report from Kearney reflects a considerable level of intrigue among telco and consumer goods companies in APAC regarding the metaverse.

A new report from a global management consultancy found that senior leaders in Asia Pacific are still unsure what form the metaverse will take and how it will affect their businesses’ bottom lines. 

Titled ‘The Pragmatic Leader’s Guide to the Metaverse’, the Kearney report reveals that almost half of consumer goods and telco leaders (43%) in APAC expect to see the metaverse account for 5-20% of their revenues by 2025.

Moreover, telcos in APAC are the most favorable about the metaverse, with 72% of respondents anticipating a positive to very positive impact.

However, exactly how these emerging concepts can be monetized remains unclear. This constitutes a real problem for many leaders, with 92% of telecom leaders and 73% of consumer goods leaders in APAC agreeing that companies will need to expand into new markets and channels to ensure relevance in the space.

The report was based on a surveyed 167 leaders of telcos and consumer goods companies – where the metaverse could have the biggest impact – across APAC, Europe and North America.

“Our study reveals a willingness and likelihood to expand into new adjacent growth opportunities and channels, driven by the metaverse. However, only a select few players have kicked off meaningful initiatives that can re-shape their business model. Many maintain a watch-and-learn mode, waiting for the metaverse to take further shape before committing meaningful investments,” said Sarovar Agarwal, Asia Pacific Lead, Telecommunications, Media, and Technology at Kearney. “Overall, companies are intrigued, but most don’t know where to start.”

“Given the general uncertainty around how consumers and businesses will use the metaverse, the pragmatic leader should at least have a basic understanding of how the metaverse could impact their business and then track industry developments. It is also important to begin establishing a roadmap that can evolve as they learn more about the metaverse and their company’s potential value monetization pathways.”

Other key findings of the study include:

Leaders at telcos and consumer goods companies expect the metaverse to have major impacts on their business

    • 84% of telco leaders and 55% of consumer goods leaders in APAC said the metaverse would have an extremely or significantly high impact on the way their company operates and creates experiences for their customers by 2030. Notably, a significantly higher proportion of telco leaders in APAC expressed this in comparison to the global average of 60%. Those seeing no impact were in the single digits across the board.
    • As many as 84% of telcos and 59% of consumer goods companies in APAC have full-time equivalents (FTEs) dedicated to metaverse pursuits.
    • Business leaders in all regions expect the metaverse to lead to market expansion and more hiring, followed by new mergers and acquisitions and rebranding. As such, 80% of telco leaders and 86% of consumer goods leaders in APAC foresee requiring some or a lot more capabilities.

Uncertainties, risks and considerations

    • There is a real concern among leaders about the actual potential of the metaverse, where investments are hard to justify without a proven return on investment. Telco leaders said that crossing the chasm of a new technology for use in an existing business makes them hesitate. Both telcos and consumer goods leaders have knowledge and technology gaps that they will need to close for the concept to take off.
    • The vast majority of survey respondents are worried about privacy and security risks. Notably, 44% of telco executives and 50% of consumer goods executives in APAC rated privacy risks associated with the metaverse as ‘high impact’.
    • The metaverse’s impact on people’s mental and physical health is also of significant concern, with more than 44% of telco leaders and 32% of consumer goods leaders in APAC saying the metaverse could pose a high risk to health.