Apr 5, 2022 - Technology

Trending tech: Drones? The metaverse? We're not sold.

Data: Momentive; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Consumers are still lukewarm about some of the buzziest tech trends out there, like the metaverse (which seems to elicit puzzled yawns) and the prospect of home delivery via drone, an Axios-Momentive poll found.

Why it matters: Although the companies propagating these technologies are unlikely to be discouraged by public indifference, the results suggest that consumer adoption may take longer than those companies hope.

  • Mark Zuckerberg has placed such a big stake on the metaverse — an alternative world that exists in the realm of virtual reality — that he renamed Facebook after it: Meta.
  • Companies like Walmart, Google-owned Wing, Magellan Health and Brinker International (owner of Chili's Grill & Bar) are experimenting with delivery by drone, anticipating a day when such airdrops are mainstream.

Driving the news: In our online poll, which surveyed 2,553 adults from March 23-25, not even Gen Z — people 25 and under — mustered much enthusiasm for the metaverse.

  • Only 22% of Gen Z respondents said the prospect of the metaverse made them more excited about the future.
  • 26% said it made them more scared.

Overall, more than three times as many people are scared than psyched about the metaverse — 32% vs. 7% — according to the poll by Axios and Momentive, the maker of Survey Monkey.

  • "No one's really super-excited about it," said Laura Wronski, research director at Momentive. "It's not something that is top of mind for most people, for sure."
  • Despite Facebook's rebranding last year and the rush by brands like Nike to build products for the metaverse, "it's not something that most people have incorporated into their daily lives yet," Wronski observes.

Most aren’t keen on drone delivery either: The majority of adults (63%) say that allowing private companies to use unmanned drones to deliver packages to their customers is a "bad idea."

  • Just 35% say it’s a "good idea."

Older and middle-aged adults are particularly wary:

  • 67% of those 65+ say it's a "bad idea," as do 66% of those 35-64.
  • 53% of those 18-34 agree — they're not looking forward to drones landing in their backyard.

Of note: Republicans who participated in the survey were consistently less enthusiastic about technological innovations — including electric vehicles and smart home devices — than Democrats.

  • 65% of Republicans deemed drone delivery a bad idea vs. 59% of Democrats.
  • 38% of Republicans said that the metaverse gave them more apprehension about the future, compared with 31% of Democrats and 26% of independents.

Methodology: The Axios-Momentive online poll was conducted March 23-25, 2022, among a national sample of 2,553 adults. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the Momentive platform each day. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

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