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Which sectors are likely to thrive on the metaverse?

By Nick Baker | Chief research officer



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April 5, 2023 | 7 min read

Awareness of the metaverse is increasing at a faster rate than understanding – Nick Baker of research agency Savanta relays results from its survey of 2000+ consumers.

Person made up of blue stars on a black background

It’s near impossible to be aware of the metaverse. But how many of us actually understand it? / Julien Tromeur

Awareness of the metaverse is high, with seven in 10 adults stating they have heard of the metaverse before. However, when we asked consumers if they know what the metaverse means, only a third claimed to fully understand the concept.

Savanta’s latest report, ‘Brands in the metaverse: how big is the opportunity?’ is based on a survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers and reveals some intriguing insights into the current level of understanding and awareness among the public.

The lack of understanding is further indicated by the large proportion of consumers that associate Facebook with the Metaverse (66%), compared with Roblox (14%) and Decentraland (5%) – two of the biggest names in the space.

The associations with Facebook are a likely result of its parent company’s rebrand to ‘Meta’ – but even Meta’s metaverse presence pales in comparison to these key players.

What does it mean?

Since it’s still early days for the metaverse, there’s no consensus as to what it truly means. Broadly speaking, however, it is best defined today as an interactive and fully immersive virtual world. But it’s not just a game. Metaverses are becoming increasingly attractive platforms to transact, socialize, and create content.

Particularly lucrative enterprises include brand partnerships; we are seeing an increasing number of brands dipping their toes into the waters of the metaverse and reaping the early rewards.

Brands in the metaverse: how big is the opportunity?

Back in 2021, Roblox hosted Nike’s Nikeland, a digital store that showcased the brand’s latest merchandise and designs. Players could enter a digital version of a Nike store and purchase virtual items for their avatars.

During that time, Gucci also launched Gucci Gardens, a digital experience within the Roblox platform that showcased the fashion house’s innovative designs.

In October 2022, it announced a partnership with The Sandbox – Gucci Vault Land – which housed a curation of non-fungible token (NFT) artwork.

To assess the value of these partnerships, we used data from BrandVue, Savanta’s daily brand tracking tool. During the week of the Gucci Gardens launch, Gucci’s ‘Positive ‘Buzz’ hit 25% – a nine-point increase compared with the brand’s weekly average.

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Similarly, on October 20th just one week before the launch of Gucci Vault Land – Positive Buzz stood at 23%. Within 10 days of launching, Positive Buzz climbed nine points, again.

It isn’t just luxury fashion houses that are getting involved though. There have been 200 strategic partnerships to date with The Sandbox, including Warner Music Group’s music-themed virtual world. When we asked consumers which categories of brands would be the most appropriate to get involved, we found that tech companies are deemed the most likely fit.

The top three most appropriate categories according to consumers were tech companies, media brands, and cinema.

Tech companies are likely to be a part of the metaverse journey, though are currently operating at a more behind-the-scenes level. However, consumer responses highlight a clear opportunity for brands in the tech space to feature more prominently.

Cinema taking third place is certainly interesting, perhaps attributed to the partnerships we have already seen in this space, such as Marvel’s collaboration with Fortnite and Dune’s use of this platform during its premiere, allowing users to buy skins to resemble some of the movie’s main characters.

Vast potential

Who knows what the lifespan of the metaverse will be, but one thing’s for sure: right now, it is very real.

Our clients are going to need to engage with it. But do they know what they are looking for? For most of them, the answer will be no. Understanding what is happening in the space is vital for our ability to interpret narratives for clients and guide them on the decisions they need to make for their brands.

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