The new frontiers of commerce are emerging in the metaverse and IoT: PayPal research reveals
21 Sep 2022
  • 33% of Australians would participate in the metaverse, and 1-in-8 Australians (12%) are already there, with 51% buying, selling or trading in the metaverse today.
  • 60% of businesses that sell online are interested in opportunities within the metaverse for either today or the future
  • 51% of Australians are comfortable to use smart appliances such as fridges and washing machines, and cars with order and payment capabilities.

 

21 September 2022, Sydney – Online shopping is almost ubiquitous in Australia with 97% of Australians aged 18-75 now shopping online, and 63% shopping online at least weekly.

But today’s consumers are looking for digital commerce experiences that go further than smartphones and computers. New research from PayPal shows that, as our lives move into new virtual spaces, a third of Australians (33%) say they’d be interested to participate in the metaverse and one-in-four Australians (23%) say they’d be happy to shop in the metaverse.

Meanwhile, Australians are confident using more connected devices to shop, or even shop for them, with 51% saying they would be comfortable having their smart appliances, such as fridges and washing machines, and their cars make orders and payments for them.
 

The metaverse: a new frontier for commerce

Young people playing video games

A third of Australians (33%) say they would participate in the metaverse, and one-in-eight Australians (12%) are already metaverse users. Regarding our appetite for commerce in virtual environments, 23% of Australians would be willing to buy goods in the metaverse and 51% of Australian metaverse users already have.

What’s more, almost two-in-five Australian metaverse users (39%) have visited a virtual store and 22% want to use the metaverse to engage with brands.

This appetite to engage with the metaverse is also expressed by Australian businesses. In fact, 60% of businesses that sell online are interested in opportunities within the metaverse for either today or the future. Almost half (49%) are interested in advertising opportunities, 50% are interested in selling physical products and a slightly lower amount (45%) in offering virtual shopping experiences. However, concerns over security may be hindering further action from businesses, with 24% worried about scams or frauds related to virtual spaces and the metaverse.

Peter Cowan, Managing Director of PayPal Australia, said, “The metaverse appears to have gained momentum during the ‘online-everything’ shift of the pandemic. With that, digital commerce has leapt forward, to a point where consumers now want fully immersive shopping and payment experiences across all aspects of their lives”.

Of course, Australians aren’t heading into the metaverse only to shop. For those Australians already participating in the metaverse, the most popular activity is online gaming (53%) with education and training also scoring highly (45%). Two-fifths of metaverse users (41%) have worked or collaborated in these virtual spaces and 40% have experienced art and live entertainment.

While only 14% of Australians would consider looking for love in virtual environments, more than a quarter of metaverse participants (29%) have actually engaged in virtual dating – one avatar to another.
 

Australians want to push the intelligence of their smart devices

While more than half of Australians (51%) say they’d be comfortable ordering through IoT devices, Australians are particularly interested in how their smart appliances can make routine transactions easier, such as restocking basic household supplies. This includes being prompted by their washing machine to order detergent or their fridge to order milk (19%), or reminders from smart devices to pay bills, such as gas and electricity (15%). One-in-ten Australians (11%) would like it if their fridge could show relevant grocery ads, deals and discounts.

A third of Australians (32%) would like their car to monitor fuel levels and connect with nearby petrol stations to find the best price. One-in-seven Australians (14%) say they would even be comfortable ordering and paying via their car’s dashboard for things like parking, petrol and drive through food.

Peter Cowan, Managing Director of PayPal Australia, said, “As we continue to evolve into an IoT world, payment touchpoints will become more apparent in places where consumers live, work and travel, allowing commerce to take place in the environments where consumers already are, rather than requiring consumers to visit specific sites or locations to transact.”
 

Australian eCommerce state of play

Australians spend an average of almost $600 online per month, with a quarter (25%) spending over $1000 online per month making an average of three purchases a week (2.5 purchases per week).

With the proliferation of commerce channels and consumer engagement touchpoints, we have moved from ‘going shopping’ to ‘doing shopping’. Digital and physical commerce environments as well as traditional and new media channels continue to overlap and converge. More than two-in-five Australians (44%) have price checked an item on their mobile while physically in a store. Taking this one step further, one-in-six (17%) have shopped on their mobile while in-store, a number that rises to one-in-four (25%) for Millennials (aged 26-41).

The convergence of channels can also be seen in the rise of second screening. A third of Australians (33%) have shopped online while watching TV or streaming video content and one-in-six (16%) have made a purchase on the couch triggered by seeing an ad on TV. Younger generations are more likely to make TV or streaming video advertisement inspired purchases with the averages for these cohorts 48% for Millennials and 46% for Gen Z.

Twenty percent of Australians have purchased something after seeing it on social media, however 37% of Australians say that if they saw something on social channels they’d like to buy, they’d rather go to the website to purchase rather than click through on a social platform.

Peter Cowan, Managing Director of PayPal Australia, said "Australians are wanting to shop wherever they can connect online and while it’s important for businesses to address the needs of today, we mustn’t lose sight of what’s around the corner. Our research shows that emerging paradigms, such as the metaverse, have already captured the attention of consumers and while it's still early days, businesses need to get educated and get ready if they hope to flourish in these virtual worlds.”

*The metaverse is a virtual space where you use an avatar and interact with each other as well as with a computer-generated environment (e.g. gaming, virtual reality, digital recreations of physical spaces such as virtual tours or real estate walkthroughs)
 

See the full 2022 eCommerce Index | Shopping Edition from PayPal Australia


About the Research – PayPal 2022 eCommerce Index | Shopping Edition

Overview and Consumer Sampling: This research was produced by PayPal Australia Pty Limited, based on an online study conducted by ACA Research with n = 1,012 consumers and n = 404 businesses. The consumer research consisted of a sample of n = 1,012 Australians aged 18 - 75. The sample was weighted by age, gender and location to ensure data was nationally representative. The business research consisted of a sample of n = 404 decision makers within Australian small and medium businesses. All businesses had to sell partially or wholly to consumers, and partially or wholly online. Quotas and the sample were set on turnover and location.  The research was in field from 15th June to 13th July 2022.

For futher information: To contact the PayPal Australia media team, please email paypalAU@edelman.com

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