9 in 10 business leaders view the metaverse and Web 3.0 as essential to success
85% of eCommerce, marketing and IT business leaders say that cutting-edge technology like the metaverse (85%) and Web 3.0 (87%) will be essential to their businesses in the next two years, helping to unlock new revenue streams and future-proof their companies.
AI topped the list with over 9-in-10 (91%) leaders viewing it as crucial to their firms' success. AI was also ranked as the technology companies were most comfortable working with, with 71% of the firms in China confident in their ability to work with the technology, unlike the US sitting at 67% and the UK at 11%.
Furthermore, 67% of business leaders in China are already working with AI, and 44% when we look to the metaverse – adoption rates much higher than their US and UK counterparts.
The Disruptive Technologies research, conducted by Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology surveyed IT, eCommerce & marketing leaders in the UK, US and China, and found that 92% of respondents had already adopted or were in the process of implementing at least one of the six leading disruptive technologies: AI, Web 3.0, the metaverse, blockchain, decentralised identity technology and extended reality.
Web 3.0 (70%) and the metaverse (65%) in particular continued to be heralded as revolutionary by leaders.
Looking to China, the research shows that business leaders believe that these emerging technologies will create new revenue streams. 40% of Chinese IT decision-makers view XR technologies as a gateway to new market opportunities, and 37% say the same about Web 3.0. And 31% of businesses in China believe the metaverse will help them create a point of difference from competitors (contrasted to 19% in the UK and 24% in the US).
Tawin Tusnajareon, Managing Director of Mirum / Wunderman Thompson Tech Thailand, said: "Nowadays, these disruptive technologies, especially AI and XR, have been embraced pervasively in real business implementation, leading to enhanced customer experience, better operational efficiency and effectiveness, and greater revenue streams through innovative business models. Although, some technologies, blockchain, metaverse and Web 3.0 are still in relatively early stages in the market it is believed to be the technologies that will make the next big change."
Therefore, to truly capitalise on disruptive technologies, companies and brands must understand the true capabilities of each technology to properly align them with their business strategies and goals. Implementation can start as a pilot project that will allow learning and correction rapidly. Eventually, evaluation of the results and consumer feedback will help you fine-tune it to truly harness new technologies in larger or even full-scale business implementation, he added
Yet there are still barriers to adopting these disruptive technologies, for example, data security.
Yet, China seems to be facing the least challenge with 52% of businesses in China stating that customers report no concerns over how their data is used, versus 72% in the US who say they do.
A Snapshot of China
Current State of Next-Gen Technology Implementation
Only 4% of the respondents from China don't see metaverse as an essential, and 6% feel the same about XR and Web 3.0. The numbers are much lower as compared to the respondents in the UK with 25% saying metaverse and XR were 'not essential' to them.
70% of respondents believe Web 3.0 marks a new revolution in web technology, rising to 89% in China.
Are Businesses Ready to Adopt these Technologies?
71% of respondents from China are confident in their ability to work with AI, unlike the US with 67% and the UK with 11%.
67% and 44% in China are already working with AI and metaverse respectively.
Drivers for Adopting Next-Gen Technology
China falls in the middle between the US and UK when asked if blockchain is bringing cost benefits to their business (25%).
China came in the highest in seeing AI as having cost-saving potential (33%) and as a route to future-proofing their businesses (27%).
Emerging Technologies will Create New Revenue Streams.
40% of Chinese IT decision-makers view XR technologies as a gateway to new market opportunities, and 37% say the same about Web 3.0.
31% of businesses in China believe the metaverse will help them create a point of difference from competitors (contrasted to 19% in the UK and 24% in the US).
Barriers to Adoption
Chinese businesses are much more likely to experience a ripple effect when implementing new technologies as a barrier. On average, 34% of Chinese firms see dependencies across the business as an obstacle to implementing these technologies (as compared to 14% of UK companies).
Companies in China view 'agreement on digital strategy' as much less of an issue - just 7% cited this across the six technologies.
94% of businesses (China, US, and the UK) state the environmental impact of new technologies is important to them.
Data security is another consideration that matters to businesses. However, there are contrasting results in an opinion by countries. 52% of businesses in China state that customers report no concerns over how their data is used, versus 72% in the US who say they do.
Nick Harry, Head of Technology at Wunderman Thompson Commerce said: "Technology enables businesses to create new solutions, services or products to meet consumers' ever-changing and often lofty demands. We now expect to be amazed by the latest technologies and ideas but are equally quick to dismiss bewildering, slow or unreliable solutions. It's why the metaverse remains in relative infancy – because it's difficult to visualise what a working, entertainment and even shopping world might look like in the merged virtual and physical environment.
"Taking a leap forward for any business is still fraught with challenges and a lack of understanding. Crucially, it's about having the right technology partners in place, investing in the right skills and taking the time to understand how innovation can create meaningful, positive change in the customer journey. Companies must strike the balance and invest in the right technology that is going to future-proof their business and customer base for years to come."
The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 600 senior decision-makers and leaders in digital commerce, marketing and IT, equally split across UK, US and China in companies ranging from £1 million+ to £500 million+ annual turnover.
The research was run between 21.04.2022 – 28.04.2022.