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More than 60% of U.S. consumers expect virtual reality (VR) to change the way they shop, our new study finds

June 5 2017
It’s no surprise virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have garnered plenty of media coverage over the past few years.

To better understand consumer sentiment surrounding VR and AR, Worldpay surveyed 16,000 consumers across Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S. in its “The 360 consumer: how VR is reshaping the buying experience” report.

Here’s a look at how the two technologies are poised to impact industries in the U.S., along with how to overcome existing barriers to usage.

A new shopping reality?

Plenty has been written about the budding role of VR and AR within retail – and for good reason. Fifty-four percent of U.S. consumers want to see VR in physical stores and 59 percent would like to see the technology in shopping apps since it helps to make the experience more enjoyable.

When it comes to respondents aged 25-34, those numbers jump to 72 and 78 percent respectively. By embracing VR and AR, businesses can position themselves as go-to destinations for younger shoppers, especially if their competition has yet to do the same.

Before using these technologies to support purchases, however, retailers should look for ways to ease security concerns. Only a quarter of American consumers surveyed believe storing payment details in VR and AR devices is safe. Businesses that implement new security features, such as fingerprint or retina scanning, will increase sales by making consumers more comfortable buying products with VR and AR technology.

The future of video games and digital content

From Sony PlayStation to Microsoft and Valve, video game console manufacturers aren’t tempering their expectations of VR and AR. Despite failed early attempts at immersive VR interfaces, the two technologies have successfully captured the attention of video gamers. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. consumers say they’re interested in using VR or AR to game in a fully immersive way while 50 percent of global consumers have already done so.

To ensure these two technologies really are the future of video gaming, industry leaders need to keep costs down. Expensive headsets not only deter 61 percent of U.S. shoppers from completing payments in a virtual environment, they also serve as a major barrier to VR and AR video gaming.

When it comes digital content, VR and AR stands to deliver a unique entertainment experience. Rather than watching a sold-out sporting event or concert on a standard camera feed, consumers can use VR and AR technology to get closer to the action. Just about four out of 10 consumers say they’d be interested in using VR or AR to have experiences they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. With these technologies, artists and entertainment companies can take digital content to the next level.

A peek at the perfect trip

Booking a vacation can be quite the challenge and full of unknowns. After all, consumers have no way of knowing what the experience will be like until they arrive. VR and AR can help make those uncertainties a thing of the past. Travel companies such as Expedia are using VR/AR technologies to offer consumers a walking virtual tour of any hotel room before they book. Not surprisingly, these sneak peeks are in high demand. Eighty-five percent of U.S. consumers said they would be interested in using VR or AR for travel experiences, while 42 percent believe these technologies represent the future of tourism. By implementing VR and AR tech, hotels, airlines and car rental companies can take the guesswork out of the trip planning process.

To learn more, download a copy of “The 360 consumer: how VR is reshaping the buying experience” report: http://www.worldpay.com/global/insight/articles/2017-05/360-consumer-how...