What’s holding consumers back from adopting AR/VR shopping tech?
Less than half of consumers claim interest in using virtual or augmented reality tools before making a purchase, although it depends on the category, according to a global YouGov survey.
For clothing, 43 percent of consumers were interested in using AR/VR pre-purchase. That compares to technologies/home appliances, 36 percent; furniture, 29 percent; and video games, 20 percent.
Interest skewed higher among younger respondents, offering hope for greater acceptance as younger generations age. Among 18-to-24 year olds, interest in using AR/VR in shopping for clothes was at 52 percent; technologies/home appliances, 40 percent; furniture, 32 percent; and video games, 38 percent.
The survey was fielded from January to February.
With stores off limits or restricted, adoption of “try-before-you-buy” AR/VR experiences was expected to have accelerated during the pandemic. Marketers rolled out numerous executions across fashion, beauty, furniture and other categories to strong press coverage, but it’s unclear how warmly they were embraced.
Euromonitor’s “Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey,” taken in March, also found fairly low enthusiasm, despite the years-long availability of AR and VR technologies. Fifty-eight percent of connected consumers globally reported not having used either.
Of those that have used AR/VR in the past year, 71 percent used it to play games. Thirty percent utilized the technology to shop for household items and furniture as well as clothes, up slightly from 2020. Fewer than 30 percent thought the ability to virtually try on clothing was an important online feature.
Among social media channels, Facebook and Snapchat have been touting the use of A/R as they build out their e-commerce capabilities.
Snap, the parent of Snapchat, in mid-July acquired Vertebrae, which helps brands make digital 3D-versions of their products, and partnered with luxury e-commerce site Verish to jumpstart its e-commerce ambitions.
On its second-quarter call last week, Snap officials said more than 200 million now engage daily on average with AR on Snapchat and over 200,000 creators use Lens Studio to build AR Lenses.
Jeremi Gorman, Snap’s chief business officer, said, “We know that AR can play a really pivotal role in improving the commerce experience for shoppers that’s been beneficial to both the retailer and the customer.”
- International Omni-Channel Retail Report 2021 – YouGov
- Using Retail Tech Innovation to Enhance the Customer Experience – Euromonitor International
- More than Half of Retail Professionals Say Pandemic Accelerated Tech Product Launches – NRF
- How AR Is Redefining Retail in the Pandemic – Harvard Business Review
- Snapchat cements AR ecommerce as a top priority ahead of Q2 earnings – eMarketer
- Snap inc (SNAP) Q2 2021 Earnings Call Transcript – Snap
- Has augmented reality tech reached an inflection point at retail? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should the apparent slow adoption of AR and/or VR for e-commerce cause concern? How confident are you that AR/VR will one day be a widely used tool for online shopping?