Despite the current buzz and rapidly increasing interest in the metaverse, over three-quarters of American consumers have never purchased virtual goods or NFTs, according to new survey data from Scalefast.
In its report, “Revealing the Metaverse,” Scalefast, the digital commerce solution that helps brands with direct-to-consumer e-commerce, provides insights into the American consumers’ sentiment toward and acceptance of retail entities like NFTs and virtual goods.
While authors of the report point out that given heightened attention around NFTs and virtual goods lead to the assumption that Americans are buying them at a record pace, in reality, only 8 percent of consumers say they have purchased an NFT and only 15 percent have purchased a virtual good over the past year.
In large part, Scalefast said much of this is due to a lack of consumer awareness of virtual goods — even with Facebook’s recent rebrand to Meta. In its research, the company discovered that some consumers may even consider the metaverse a Facebook invention and do not understand its complexity.
Moreover, the company’s findings show that 44 percent of consumers say they “have no clue what an NFT is” with 36 percent saying the same for virtual goods.
Still, the authors of the report said they did discover some eagerness from those in the know. The 10 percent of consumers who said they know what NFTs are said they want to know more and the same was found from the 9 percent who said they understand virtual goods.
According to the data, 49 percent of consumers who are NFT purchasers make at least $80,000 a year, 23 percent who make under $40,000 and 20 percent who make between $40,000 and $79,000. Education levels were also a factor where the more educated this individual is, the less likely they are to have already purchased an NFT. Notably, there was a similar pattern in virtual goods. According to Scalefast, the trend is likely to persist in 2022.
At the same time, the report found the most likely to have purchased an NFT or virtual good in the past year are males between the ages of 18 and 34 and identify as a race other than white.
“NFTs and virtual goods present a major opportunity for growth if brands can provide additional education to consumers on what these entities are and identify the ever-crucial next group of adopters,” said the authors of the report.
For example, of consumers who could be convinced to purchase an NFT, 46 percent said a leading factor to do so is a better understanding of how they work. An additional 42 percent cited “if it was going to appreciate or be a sound investment” as a factor, 31 percent said “if it came from a brand they trusted,” 25 percent said “if it came with a physical good” and 24 percent said, “if the process to purchase was easy.”
“The market for NFTs and virtual goods is largely untapped as the most active participants so far have been young and highly in tune with overseas tech trends,” said Dan Wallace-Brewster, senior vice president of marketing at Scalefast. “As older-skewing media platforms invest in these products, they will bring awareness and demand from a much broader segment of U.S. consumers and brands should take steps now to avoid being left behind.”
Looking at product categories from which NFT consumers reported they are more likely to purchase music or film-related NFTs than any other category (22 percent). Other categories to consider include artwork or photography (17 percent), sports memorabilia/collectibles (14 percent), luxury fashion goods (12 percent), memes (11 percent) and early NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cryptopunks, Loot, etc. (9 percent).
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