Developing countries love the Metaverse, rich nations not keen: WEF survey

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Excitement for the Metaverse and virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR) is much greater in developing countries than in high-income countries according to a survey conducted for the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Market research firm Ipsos released the results of the survey on May 25 showing the concept is now widely recognized: 52% of more than 21,000 adults surveyed across 29 countries are familiar with the Metaverse and 50% have positive feelings about engaging with it in daily life.

China, India, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia were the top five countries where two-thirds or more of respondents said they had positive feelings towards it.

China had the highest, with 78% harboring positive feelings toward using a metaverse daily followed by India at 75%.

Feelings by country of engaging in a metaverse in daily life, darker areas indicate higher percentage of positive feelings in that region. Source: Ipsos

The lowest scoring countries with less than one-thirds of respondents positive about the Metaverse were also countries with the highest incomes.

Japan scored the lowest with just 22% exhibiting positive feelings followed by the United Kingdom (26%), Belgium (30%), Canada (30%), France (31%), then Germany (31%).

Interestingly the concept was less familiar in those high income countries too, with fewer than 30% in France, Belgium and Germany.

Turkey was most familiar with the Metaverse at 86%, followed by India (80%), China (73%) and the higher income country of South Korea (71%). Poland scored the lowest at 27%.

Respondents were also surveyed on the areas of life they agree the Metaverse will impact the most. Developing countries such as South Africa, China and India agreed areas like virtual learning, entertainment, digital socializing and even applications like remote surgery would make an impact on people’s lives.

Related: How the Metaverse could impact the lives of kids

Again respondents from high income Japan, Belgium and France had the lowest percentages of those who agreed that Metaverse applications would significantly change people’s lives.

Developing countries seem to be more enthusiastic about crypto and blockchain across the board, according to an April report from cryptocurrency exchange Gemini which pointed out half of respondents in India, Brazil and the Asia Pacific region purchased their first cryptocurrency in 2021.

The report made the case that inflation and currency devaluation are the drivers of crypto adoption in those regions stating that residents of countries that experienced 50% or more currency devaluation were five times more likely to plan to purchase crypto over countries that experienced less inflation.


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