how retail, real-estate and hospitality will benefit

Retail, real estate and hospitality are some of the industries which will encounter big opportunities for expansion in the metaverse, says one industry expert.

“At the heart of what the metaverse stands for — it makes the internet more conversational,” Kunal Lunawat co-founder and managing partner at Agya Ventures, a real estate tech focused fund, told Yahoo Finance.

Lunawat envisions the next version of the internet, or metaverse, will give retail brands the opportunity to create a conversational bridge between the virtual and real worlds.

For example a person may buy a virtual handbag for their avatar, “but the proof of ownership of that handbag also gives you access to special discounts and benefits at that brand store in the real world,” said Lunawat.

Taking it one step further, customers will be able to give companies input on which type of features to include in upcoming products.

“This whole concept of co-creation and co-building and having customers take more ownership of the brand itself is such a powerful construct. I think the metaverse will finally give it the reality,” said Lunawat.

Those who buy NFT’s (non fundable tokens) tied to a virtual asset such as an upcoming real estate property, will be able to gain access, discounts and privileges in the real world when the actual launch takes place, for example.

“It’s really a novel way of thinking about marketing these assets and creating that sense of exclusivity that drives sales in the real world,” he said.

Hospitality companies hosting virtual events could benefit from brand recognition and the “imprints” registered in attendees’ minds.

The changes, says Lunawat, are happening fast. Microsoft (MSFT), Nvidia (NVDA), and Meta (FB) have all laid out their big plans for a new version of the internet.

Last week, Meta announced it is testing ways for creators to sell virtual items and experiences on their platform called Horizon Worlds.

Citi recently predicted the metaverse economy could be worth between $8 and $13 trillion by 2030, with total users numbering around five billion.

“That’s a lot of money that needs to pour into the system and a lot of growth that needs to happen for us to reach that landmark,” said Lunawat. He’s confident the total addressable market will reach at least $8 billion.

“I’m pretty bullish that we’ll actually meet that, and even maybe surpass that,” he said.

Ines is a markets reporter covering stocks for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Flipboard, and LinkedIn