One-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, new research from PayPal has shown.

Almost one in eight Australians (12%) are already metaverse users and nearly one-quarter (23%) would be willing to buy goods in the metaverse, with 51% of Australian metaverse users having already done so. In addition, almost two in five 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 – 60% that sell online are interested in opportunities within the metaverse for either today or the future for advertising opportunities (49%), selling physical products (50%) and offering virtual shopping experiences (45%). However, security concerns may be hindering further action, with 24% worried about scams or frauds related to virtual spaces.

PayPal Australia managing director, Peter Cowan 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.”

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

Australians are also 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.

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.

“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,” Cowan added.