Consumer Interest in 'Virtual Living' Intensifies

Successful consumer-facing companies are using immersive technologies to build digital environments that are increasingly realistic and create a greater connection to the physical world
Consumer Interest in 'Virtual Living' Intensifies

The growing use of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality will spur consumer-facing companies, such as those in retail, consumer goods, and travel, to increase investment in new capabilities and experiences to blend physical and virtual worlds, or risk being left behind.
 
Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers had already purchased a virtual good or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year, and that figure is expected to rise, as 83 percent show interest in making purchases via the metaverse, according to a report by Accenture. 

Furthermore, 42 percent said they had visited a retailer in the virtual world to get advice, make a payment or browse a product range when shopping for a physical item, while 56 percent plan to in the next year. Among millennials, these figures increase to 51 percent and 61 percent respectively.

Anurag Gupta, Managing Director and Lead - Strategy & Consulting, Accenture in India said, “As consumers explore the virt-real world, companies that do not actively begin incorporating new immersive experiences into their business strategy now, run the risk of being left behind. By embracing the Metaverse, businesses have the opportunity to reinvent consumer experiences and also transform the way in which products and services are being created and offered.”

More than half (55 percent) of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving into digital spaces. In response, the vast majority (90 percent) of retail executives say that they anticipate that leading organizations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds. Further, 72 percent of global executives state that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organizations, with 45 percent believing it will be a breakthrough or transformational.

Again, half (50 percent) of consumers said that they are buying, or would be interested in buying, a travel experience such as a sightseeing tour or hotel stay. This figure rises to 55 percent of millennials, compared to 29 percent of baby boomers. For leisure, 54 percent of consumers said that they are buying, or interested in buying, tickets to a concert, a show, or sporting event taking place in a virtual world.
 
Manish Gupta, Managing Director and Lead - Products, Accenture in India said, “As an evolving continuum, Metaverse is expected to transform and impact every part of the business value chain – right from reinventing consumer engagement to solving R&D issues and enabling enterprise-wide data analysis to leadership decisions. Consumer-facing companies need to focus on skilling and investing in a robust technology foundation to benefit from the new opportunities that will come up in the future.”

READ MORE: How Retailers can Leverage Social Media

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