Executives Optimistic About the Metaverse Despite Recent Cooldown, according to Protiviti-Oxford University Survey

Even with a market-perceived metaverse slowdown, global business leaders remain confident the metaverse will be critical for business success over the next decade

MENLO PARK, Calif. and LONDON – May 3, 2023 – The latest installment of VISION by Protiviti, the thought leadership series by global consulting firm Protiviti, focuses on the future of the metaverse over the next decade. Despite a recent cooldown in metaverse hype, two-thirds of global business executives surveyed in a joint University of Oxford-Protiviti study say Web 3 and the metaverse will have a significant economic impact and be important to their company’s business success over the next ten years.

The Protiviti survey, conducted in collaboration with the Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, U.K., found that 70% of leaders said the metaverse would be somewhat or extremely important for customer experience and loyalty over the next decade. When asked how they anticipate using the metaverse to engage customers, 79% said for ‘marketing/advertising’ purposes. These are not just hypothetical plans – nearly half (45%) of global business leaders reported starting to use the metaverse to engage with customers, with another 20% reporting plans to do so in the next year.

“Marketing and experiential advertising continue to be a natural entry point for companies to start using the metaverse – and adjacent technologies like AR and VR – to improve the quality and types of customer engagement they offer,” said Alex Weishaupl, a managing director at Protiviti Digital. “As with all emerging technologies, we see an on-again, off-again hype cycle, which can contribute uncertainty about the long-term applications of a technology. However, there’s no question that the metaverse will make significant impact to customer experience strategies over the next ten years.”

Metaverse Adoption During the Next Decade

Not everyone is optimistic about the metaverse. The survey revealed a continental difference when it comes to metaverse enthusiasm. A stunning 85% of surveyed North American executives said the metaverse will be somewhat or extremely important to their future business success. That percentage compares to significantly fewer in Asia Pacific (57%) and Europe (46%).

“Global executive leaders in North America are ahead of the game in metaverse matters: the survey showed that enthusiasm and current engagement in the region is considerably and consistently higher than elsewhere,” says Dr. David Howard, associate professor at the University of Oxford. “While North American leaders have already immersed themselves more fully, counterparts in Europe, and especially in Asia Pacific, indicate that although uncertainties partly obscure the benefits of engaging with the metaverse today, the risks of lagging behind are probably far greater.”

The coming decade may decide whether caution is a virtue, or an opportunity lost, but North American executives aren’t waiting to find out. The survey found that 65% of North American executives reported already having a metaverse strategy in place, far outpacing Europe (32%) and Asia Pacific (27%).

“North American business leaders quickly deployed metaverse strategies, but where we’ve seen pullbacks on metaverse projects is where the investment and exploration of the technology weren’t aligned against specific business goals and expected outcomes,” said Christine Livingston, a managing director in the emerging technology practice at Protiviti. “When you think about what that first venture into the metaverse may be for your organisation, it's important to start by focusing on a vision and shared objective between technologists, C-suites and other stakeholders. Mapping use cases to business impact is necessary to be able to determine value delivered and if the investment was worthwhile.”

As executives continue to navigate their metaverse strategies, two critical decisions will include deciding which emerging technologies to pilot and anticipating potential roadblocks. In terms of the emerging technologies required to implement the metaverse, executives reported being most excited about ‘augmented, virtual and extended reality’ (65%) and ‘artificial intelligence’ (58%). Cost has so far been the primary roadblock to metaverse implementation, with 44% of executives reporting it as the biggest hurdle. ‘Privacy/security risk’ (42%), ‘interoperability’ (34%), ‘technology infrastructure’ (30%) and ‘user experience/enthusiasm’ (25%) were other top roadblocks reported by executives.

The study surveyed 250 board members, C-suite executives and other business leaders in 15 countries representing 30 different industries about the future of the metaverse. The study was conducted from January to March 2023.

Learn More About the Future of the Metaverse – 2033 and Beyond

The survey report, “Executive Outlook on the Metaverse, 2033 and Beyond” is available for complimentary download at VISION by Protiviti with a free subscription. The report is part of VISION by Protiviti’s months-long exploration of the metaverse future. As part of that exploration, Protiviti has published content featuring thought leaders and luminaries in the emerging technology, metaverse and Web 3 worlds, including:

VISION by Protiviti is a provocative thought leadership series that puts megatrends under the microscope to provide strategic insights for C-suite executives and board members. Content is available in a variety of formats, including articles, podcasts, video interviews and special events. Subscribe to VISION by Protiviti for free here. In Q3 2023, the series will explore the future of money.

About GCHU

Established in 2018, the Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation (GCHU), Kellogg College, University of Oxford, brings together leading and influential thinkers in an interdisciplinary approach embracing evidence-based healthcare, sustainable urban development, and education, and provides a collaborative forum for organisations active in these disciplines.

About Protiviti

Protiviti (www.protiviti.com) is a global consulting firm that delivers deep expertise, objective insights, a tailored approach and unparalleled collaboration to help leaders confidently face the future. Protiviti and its independent and locally owned member firms provide clients with consulting and managed solutions in finance, technology, operations, data, digital, legal, HR, risk and internal audit through a network of more than 90 offices in over 25 countries.


Named to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list list for the 10th consecutive year, Protiviti has served more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 and nearly 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The firm also works with government agencies and smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public. Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half (NYSE: RHI).