With the Metaverse market estimated at an $8 trillion opportunity in the next five years, fashion brands are going big on this next big thing, so stay relevant in their game. Is it a smart business opportunity or a single bubble? During a round table “Metaverse – From Fantasy to Reality” at fortune indiait is 40 under 40 Today, Vignesh Selvaraj, founder of TardiVerse, says it’s an opportunity and the next era of the internet. “When you take the internet. People were afraid of how data will be transferred. After the pandemic, virtual reality and extended reality, I think the metaverse will be the next really big opportunity where people don’t want to travel or want to have another like you go to the supermarket and find premade clothes.But in the metaverse, any kind of design can be found and you can customize everything by yourself.
Shuvadip Banerjee, Director of Digital Marketing, ITC, says the Metaverse is definitely not a bubble that will burst. “We have moved from an information economy to a platform economy. Now we’re moving into an ownership economy, so we’re going to be co-owners. This helps to decentralize the entire data or monopoly to a particular platform space. It also brings a whole new consumption experience. The immersive experience possible in the metaverse will engage the brand building much more. “
Ramkumar Subramaniam, CEO and co-founder of GuardianLink, believes the metaverse is an extension of social media and the online world. “About $57 billion was invested in the metaverse last year and this year we’re halfway there and nearly $120 billion has already been invested. Brands are seeing this as a much more immersive experience. So , if someone builds NikeWorld and someone spends two hours in NikeWorld, that’s two hours of ads that Nike gives you. You don’t see such an experience these days. The experience is going to become much more immersive and much more practical. What you could do with it is completely up to your imagination. Brands, according to their philosophy, try to build something of their own in this space.”
Neeraj Roy, founder of Hungama, says there are three to four components in the metaverse. “Our journey as consumers into the metaverse started when we started doing basic ani-moji or emojis. More virtualization will happen (in the future). I read this as a journey to move on from the internet to a more persistent virtual world. Along with that there will be a whole space of big data, which means that whatever action is happening, there is data and computing happening There are six of us here physically today I envision a scenario in the not too long future, maybe four years, where we could have 2-4-20 avatars of our own and you will have, because of all the space of Web 3, control of this avatar or data being requested AI will create different learning experiences.
Puneet Das, president of Tata Consumer Products, explains that the metaverse is a fusion of the physical and virtual world. “It’s a natural progression into the future. You tell the difference between the hype and the real trend by looking at it from the consumer’s point of view. The virtual and physical worlds will overlap, enhancing the experience and so this is a great opportunity.”
On what kind of business models are likely to appear on the metaverse, GuardianLink’s Subramaniam says he thinks it’s going to start with entertainment. “Music concerts, events like this (Fortune India 40 Under 40 Awards) will take place on the metaverse. The game would be a great business model. E-commerce and food e-commerce are also going to be big things.”
According to Hungama MD Roy, in the four verticals of entertainment, games, art and fashion, his company is developing a market in which NFTs are a gateway to the metaverse. “Over the next four to five years, nearly every existing business model will need to be realigned to accommodate this change.”
Vignesh Selvaraj, CEO of TardiVerse, says entertainment is the first key to pulling people into the metaverse. “Without people, the metaverse is nothing. We are attracted to entertainment films, cricket, etc. Take movies. In the metaverse, it will be more than just staring at the screen, it will be more like you can be near Shah Rukh Khan. People don’t want to travel. In the future, people will be lazy to travel. More than money, time will be their main concern.
In India, most brands use the metaverse as a marketing tool. Globally, some brands are already shifting 2-5% of their digital spend to the metaverse. Will the space see significant marketing investments allocated to the metaverse?
Das of Tata Consumer Products says all good ideas start with consumers. “We were coming out of Covid, and there was uncertainty. In that context, we said how can we recreate the Holi experience for people? That’s how metaverse thinking just came in. We launched the Holi metaverse for Tata tea Premium, where people could choose avatars and participate in Holi. We partnered with some influencers. The fact is that brands want to interact with consumers in a more differentiated way. It’s a natural evolution. Brands have to be bold, try something from a use case and then decide what experience they want to give consumers.”
ITC’s Banerjee also sees this as an evolution. “What new unlocks can happen, we’ll see. But looking back, similar conversations were happening in 2010-2012 when we were talking about why someone should come to an e-commerce site and buy a deal package. Then the conversation shifted to why branding on social media, not TV?The same thing is happening now.
The metaverse world is part of the Web 3.0 ecosystem, which means that a consumer would not only be able to interact and buy, but also own it. But wow is India Inc prepared for Web 3.0? Tardiverse’s Selvaraj says that in India, internet speed in many areas could pose obstacles. “5G and 6G will make it possible to exploit the possibilities of the metaverse much more quickly.”