Fashion is leading the way for Metaverse participation among retailers, a new report has revealed.

The RetailX Metaverse Almanac 2023 report, available to read online now, has found that fashion-based retailers are entering the Metaverse at double the rate of other segments. About 34% of retailers have some sort of participation in the Metaverse already, twice as much as the next segment, consumer electronics, where the equivalent figure is 17%.

The report also highlights that retail is one of the first non-gaming sectors to experience the potential of the metaverse. Over half of games developers see the metaverse as the next iteration of the internet, blending physical and virtual worlds and experiences compared to 32% of gamers and 38% of businesses.

Why the Metaverse matters to retailers

There is a clear reason why the Metaverse matters to retailers. The report forecasts that if just 10% of today’s internet users use the Metaverse, that puts 480mn users into the virtual world. If 25% do that is 1.2bn users. with many looking to interact and buy things.

For this reason, it estimates the Metaverse to be worth around $5tn by 2030, noting that Venture Capitals have been piling in to invest in its surrounding technologies. In 2022, VCs pledged $120bn, up dramatically from the $16bn seen in 2021, the report said.

As retailers take their first steps into this world, the report acknowledges that some dangers also exist. 70% of Chinese consumers said they fear becoming addicted to the Metaverse in the years ahead, while 55% see it as a risk to privacy and a potential extension to online bullying and harassment.

Amidst all of this, retailers have enhanced their presence in the virtual world in recent months. In April, online fashion platform, Zalando introduced a virtual fitting room where customers can try on select items to check for size and fit.

Last month, German startup Sizekick became the latest company to unveil an AI-based sizing tool for fashion e-commerce platforms. In addition, Spanish fashion group, Mango recently said it would be investing in virtual avatars through its fashion start-up accelerator Mango StartUp Studio.