Back to news


Is the Metaverse a necessary new step for a company?


More and more retail brands are establishing a presence in virtual worlds. The goal is to be present where consumers are, particularly the young. Following in the footsteps of luxury brands and high-tech companies, it’s now the turn of the retail giants to enter the Metaverse. Experts at AURIS Finance, a mergers and acquisitions consultancy, give you their analysis of this new trend.

Welcome to the third dimension

The Metaverse is a virtual world connected to the internet where interactions take place in 3 dimensions. It originated in science fiction and was influenced by video games before spreading to other parts of the internet, such as social media. Facebook, for example, founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, recently changed its name to Meta. The group has invested around $10 billion in developing these fully immersive worlds.

For the user, the Metaverse is a three-dimensional virtual reality space that combines sound effects, music, and hyper-realistic graphics. Eventually, other senses such as touch and smell could be involved. Each visitor to the Metaverse is represented by an avatar. To connect to it, you need a virtual reality headset such as the one made by Oculus, acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.

The future of the internet

Many digital experts predict the proliferation of these virtual worlds on the Internet. According to a study by Gartner, by 2026, 25% of the population will spend an hour a day in the Metaverse to consume, learn, work, or be entertained. For the time being, these virtual worlds are still in their infancy, and the Internet is still largely two-dimensional. At the height of the Covid-19 crisis, we saw Frenchman Jean-Michel Jarre give a New Year’s Eve 2021 concert in a fully digitised Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, helping to bring these techniques to the attention of the general public, even if most of the viewers were on traditional channels such as Youtube and BFM TV. Some of the fastest growing platforms include Roblox, Meta, Sandbox, and Decentraland.

Major brands are also betting on the Metaverse

It is in these spaces that the big retail brands are now making their foray. Luxury businesses have started positioning themselves in the Metaverse since the beginning of 2022. Philipp Plein, head of the fashion house of the same name, paid €1.2 million for 16,400 square metres in the Decentraland metaverse. A few days later, Kenzo and Gucci announced similar initiatives. In early March, it was the turn of the retail behemoths to enter the Metaverse.

“Anticipating changes in consumer habits”

As a result, the Carrefour Group has acquired 82,000 square metres of land on the Sandbox platform. The use of this land is currently under discussion. Casino leader Price has also positioned itself on Sandbox and is expected to activate its first system at the end of April. This will be intended for Leader Price Club members, who will be able to play a food-themed game. The prizes won can then be redeemed as vouchers in Leader Price shops or online. With this foray, the group aims to “anticipate changes in society and evolving consumer habits in order to adapt to customers’ new needs,” said the group in a press release. While these are experiments for now, they could lead to much more sophisticated experiences in the years to come.

When tangible assets go virtual

Within a company, real estate is considered a tangible asset that adds to the value of the company in the case of a merger or an acquisition operation. With the development of the Metaverse, brands now own virtual real estate. This is a new element to be taken into account when valuing a business. What’s more, these spaces are part of a company’s overall strategy. How can a company add value to its square metres in the Metaverse? How can they be taken into account in an acquisition? Are they liquidity assets? How should they be accounted for in the balance sheet? AURIS Finance’s experts can help you with all these questions, drawing on their sector-specific expertise.

Contact us