Belgian leaders' views on metaverse

Metaverse survey

metaverse buildings
  • June 19, 2023

The metaverse has the potential to transform how we see the world, but also transform the way we interact with organisations and with each other. It is now emerging as one of the most important technology trends of 2023. 

Although this phenomenon is still in its infancy, opportunities are quickly emerging, with use cases in almost all sectors, be it retail, health care, pharma, banking, manufacturing. It appears that this aspect of the digital revolution may ultimately impact every industry. Numerous companies have already sought to embrace this new and innovative space, while others are still seeking to identify the added value lies for their organisation. 

As technology is at the heart of PwC, we have made it our mission to build trust in society and do what we can to solve important problems. To determine what the metaverse may mean for our society, we have undertaken an executive survey with 60 Belgian business leaders to determine their individual perspective as well as their current engagement on the topic. We invite you to discover these insights in this report.

Top of mind: What is the Metaverse?

Which word pops in your head when you think of ‘the metaverse’?

Currently, the metaverse remains a vague concept for many. Some people suggest it is a virtual replication of our physical world, others see it as an extension to that physical world, one that transcends the physical boundaries. From PwC’s perspective, the metaverse is about creating interaction between people in both virtual and physical spaces, supported by technology that creates really immersive experiences.

Interestingly, when we asked business leaders for the first word that came to their mind, the majority referred to the experience (52%), followed by the facilitating technologies (18%) being Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). For 13% of business leaders consulted, innovation is the key driver for metaverse, while 5% simply referred to brands like Meta, Facebook and Google. Only a small percentage of business leaders (7%) see the metaverse as hype or overblown, or link it to privacy risks. 

metaverse wordcloud
metaverse skyline blend

As with the other nascent technologies that we have embraced in our daily lives, it will take time until there is a firm consensus on the exact definition of the metaverse, not to mention the likely pros and cons it will bring; as the saying goes; “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. The metaverse relies on other emerging technologies that work independently as well. Examples are augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and blockchain (which in turn facilitates cryptocurrencies, NFTs and smart contracts). While these technologies are advancing at speed and are starting to find increasing numbers of applications, there are still metaverse components that are still uncertain and need to be further explored to see if they will ever be viable f.i. Interoperability through connecting the different virtual environments and experiences. We believe that as these technologies advance so will the application of metaverse in the business world.

In our hype-driven society it seems that the metaverse had to move aside to make room for the latest trend, namely artificial intelligence (AI). However, at PwC we continue to believe in the potential of the metaverse; indeed, we see AI as one of the technologies that will accelerate its development, one that will provide relevant use cases and value for businesses (such as, for example, an AI-driven customer service representative).

How would you describe your metaverse knowledge?

Business leaders hold varying views on the metaverse. The majority (57%) are aware of the metaverse, and are still exploring how this emerging ecosystem could add value to their business. It is encouraging to see that almost 27% believe they have a good understanding of the metaverse, and see concrete use cases and how to uplift leverage for their business; indeed, 3% are currently working on leveraging it for their business. Only 13% don’t really understand know what the metaverse means. 

Metaverse knowledge
(all figures in %)

I've heard of it, but I'm not sure what it means
I know what it's about, but I'm not sure how it can contribute to my business
I have a good understanding and I see concrete use cases for my business
I have a good understanding and my business is actively working on it/integrating it

The perceived added value of the Metaverse

What value do you believe the metaverse will bring?

Some companies have already implemented commercial metaverse activities through specific use cases such as:

  • enhancing the customer experience 

  • adding the metaverse as an additional sales channel 

  • selling digital products on a metaverse space. 

Others focus more on internal use cases such as learning and development, maintenance and supply chain optimisation.

The survey results (right) reveal the following:

What will the Metaverse bring?
(all figures in %)

It will never materialise
I'm not sure
It will be a social platform and our company will treat it like current plaftorms
It will help with specific business problems
It will revolutionise businesses and create new opportunities

“It generates opportunities to make coaching sessions more open”

CEO of a Belgian HR Company

What interesting use cases are there for your business in the metaverse?


Use cases
(all figures in %)

Onboarding and training
Connecting with colleagues (virtually)
Virtual experiences for customers
New customer support channels
Elevated brand awareness and marketing
New innovative business opportunities
Providing entertainment
New sales channels for digital goods
New sales channels for physical goods

Business executives see the metaverse as offering opportunities for both internal services and client-facing work. 62% of the respondents indicated the main use cases in employee experience and human resources as they believe that the metaverse could support in terms of recruitment, onboarding and training.

We believe that training, recruitment and onboarding virtually will become much more engaging in a metaverse context by simulating real life events and human connection. This will lead to improved employee experience and engagement.

Leaders also see the metaverse as a channel for facilitating virtual connections between colleagues. This is why an executive of a tyre manufacturing company identified ‘employee collaboration’ as a major opportunity. This is somewhere PwC agrees; as well as a collaborative tool, we see significant metaverse applications HR such as recruitment, onboarding and training. Such uses present lower barriers ways of experimenting with the metaverse, without the risk of direct exposure to customers.

Customer experience

Business leaders also view the metaverse as offering opportunity for revolutionising their customer experience. More than half - 57% - think it will provide new virtual experiences for their customers, while 52% perceive it as a way of creating new customer support channels.

Omni-channel approach

At the same time, leaders also detect fresh commercial opportunities, such as the creation of new sales channels for digital goods. It represents a new source of revenues and will encourage both upselling and cross-selling. Businesses will also have the opportunity to widen and diversify their portfolio, offering physical and digital goods. In fact, 38% expect elevated brand awareness and marketing as a result of developing a metaverse-focused strategy. 

We believe that younger generations continuing to enter the market as consumers and in the workforce - together with the evolution of high-quality hardware at reasonable prices – will see the metaverse taking an increasing profile in our day-to-day lives in the years to come. At PwC, we will be watching this evolution closely.

Taking a step into the Metaverse

Do our Belgian businesses have ongoing metaverse activities?

Some businesses have already entered the metaverse, while others have yet to do so. In fact, 68% have no metaverse-related activities at the moment. However, it is encouraging to see that 25% are already exploring the potential through several metaverse projects, while 7% have already succeeded in setting up projects.

As with all new technologies, companies explore their potential at different paces. However, it is good to see that significant numbers of organisations are already engaging in the metaverse.


When do you plan to start your metaverse journey?
(all figures in %)

Within 4 to 5 years
More than 5 years
Within 2 to 3 years
I'm not sure
Within the coming year
Now or ongoing

When do you plan to start your metaverse investments or activities?

For those businesses not as yet engaged in the metaverse, 48% show uncertainty over their timeline for implementing any strategy. At the same time, 8% of businesses have already initiated or have ongoing metaverse activities. Some 10% expressed the objective to take steps within the coming year, while 20% plan to do so within two to three years. Another 3% think that they would start within four to five years, while 10% felt they would need five or more years to become operational in this field.


What are your top priorities for realising your metaverse ambitions?

  1. Creating general awareness within my organisation

  2. Experiment and realising proofs of concept

  3. Upskilling staff or attracting people with metaverse-related skills

  4. Finding external support (specialists, content creators and partners)

  5. Investing in technology

  6. Evaluating risk.

While the order of priorities varied slightly from business leader to business leader, on average the priorities are ranked as set out above. This indicates that general awareness is deemed as pivotal for identifying value-adding opportunities within organisations, followed by experimentation and upskilling. These elements provide the ideal foundation within your organisation to get started with the metaverse and to roll out when the time is right.

metaverse 3d woman playing vr

Uncertainty and risks

What are the main concerns for business leaders?

Despite the numerous opportunities the metaverse offers, it also poses risks and concerns in areas such as cybersecurity, regulation and intellectual property.

Given the rate of development, the continuously evolving technology and the lack regulation, there is no existing framework that companies can follow to tackle all the metaverse-related risks. It will many more years for all metaverse components to properly mature. Such uncertainty inevitably leads to speculation and disillusion, which can conceal the true potential of the metaverse. That said, this shouldn’t stop you from experimenting; there are already clear examples of organisations that have created value via the metaverse through both cost saving and growth.

The main concern for leaders is cybersecurity, followed by technology constraints. Although interesting use cases can be imagined, the technology and user experience still needs to be significantly improved if the metaverse is to enter the mainstream and create value at scale. Think for instance about device-independent access, ease of working with crypto wallets. 

In addition to the privacy concerns, customer adoption is also a major concern. Despite the interest of increasing numbers of people, the metaverse is currently only for a very niche audience. However, despite the appeal of new virtual experiences for customers, businesses tend to first explore these technologies internally, before making the shift to customer facing initiatives. 

Furthermore, business leaders believe that executing their metaverse ambitions could be costly and might require significant resources to develop such projects. Also the lack of regulation and legislation also leads to a feeling of legal uncertainty and concerns over intellectual property.

That being said, we believe that following an approach that spawns from building trust for your stakeholders and starting small will enable businesses to take steps towards the metaverse for a reasonable cost while managing the key risks and concerns.

Business leaders have categorised the perceived risks of the metaverse as follows:

1: Cybersecurity

2: Technology constraints

3: Privacy risks

4: Customer adoption

5: Costs

6: Intellectual property concerns

7: Regulatory uncertainty

8: Tax or legal issues

9: Others

Four key takeaways help you start with the metaverse

At PwC Belgium, we make it our mission to help your organisation or business identify and explore the concrete opportunities and use cases that the metaverse can offer; for you, for your customers or for your employees. 

Please consider these four key takeaways when exploring the metaverse:


Become familiar with the metaverse.

In line with our survey results, we believe it is important to raise general awareness of the metaverse within your organisation. Make sure your people have the opportunity to learn what it is, what it can do and what it could mean for your organisation. They will be the drivers for change within your organisation, the ones that will see the quick wins or the longer-term opportunities, regardless of whether these relate to increased efficiency or revenue growth.


Understand your audience.

There is a generational gap between most business leaders today and the main users of the metaverse, GenZ and Gen𝞪. These younger generations are the first generations that have grown up with ‘digital first’, and are gradually gaining influence in the market and in the workforce, making them key considerations when reflecting on the value of metaverse technology. Reflect on how these generations experience the world, such as the time they spend on technology, their preferred communication channels, how they learn and how they spend their free time. Explore how the differences in dynamics will impact your internal organisation as well as your customer base.

Develop a clear strategy based upon building trust.

Most businesses run into the metaverse, driven by a fear of somehow ‘missing out’. This is not the best approach; the focus should be on the business value it can create. However, if you did rush into it, don’t worry too much - there is business value in this technology for all. A clear strategy will help you optimise the budget and capacity allocation for your metaverse initiatives and by consequence optimise your ROI.

The cornerstones of your strategy should be value creation and building trust. Make your starting point clear, set out your business goals and what you want to achieve. Also, identify the risks you are likely to face and how you will manage them. Embedding building trust for your stakeholders by design into your approach to metaverse data, transactions and experiences from the start will help you manage cost and reduce risks from the outset. 

Execute on your strategy, measure, learn and adjust.

A clear strategy will enable you to monitor the effectiveness of your execution, help you learn from your initiatives and adjust as you proceed.


Metaverse services

The evolution of business in the metaverse

Contact us

Xavier Verhaeghe

Xavier Verhaeghe

Partner, Technology Consulting, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 495 59 08 40

Timothé Karoui

Timothé Karoui

Senior Manager, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 497 90 28 76

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