Online shoppers are ready for an immersive tech experience

19 November 2020 Consultancy.asia

Consumers in Asia Pacific (APAC) are ready for immersive technology in their online shopping experience, more so than anywhere in the world. This is according to a new report by Accenture Interactive.

Immersive technology includes tools such as augmented reality or virtual reality – designed to bring a virtual experience as close to reality as possible. Experts, retailers and consumers have fast recognised that immersive technology could eliminate one of the biggest barriers to ecommerce adoption: the inability to see products in person.

“The reality is that rotating a 3D model of a designer handbag or seeing a 360° video of an oceanfront rental home is more than a cool interaction. It is an exercise in truth seeking. Unlike anything else in digital commerce, immersive experiences provide accessibility and tangibility,” explained Rori Duboff, a Managing Director at Accenture.

Accenture Interactive surveyed more than 3,000 consumers around the world to gauge attitudes towards immersive tech. The key finding: While already on the rise in recent years, immersive technology has become more central in the ecommerce landscape as a result of the Covid-19 impact on consumer behaviour.

Don’t wait to innovate

Consumers were forced to avoid in-store purchases at the start of this year, and have chosen to do so ever since due to fear of infection. What results is a booming ecommerce landscape around the world. As ecommerce adoption soars, so to does demand for tools that can enhance the overall experience.

APAC in focus

According to Accenture Interactive, this holds truer in APAC than anywhere else. APAC representation in the survey came from Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia, and 68% of the region’s respondents advocated immersive technology, compared to say 58% in Europe. The market in focus within APAC is Singapore, where consumers appear to be most ready for immersive technology.

More than 70% of consumers in Singapore reported being more likely to buy from a brand that focuses on immersive technology. Nearly 60% in Singapore said they would better remember such brands. The reason for this clear preference is simple: consumers want to connect with their product before making a purchase.

Well over half of Singaporeans put ‘experiencing products before purchasing’ as their top reason for liking immersive tech, while 50% reported feeling a human and physical connection with the product. Nearly 60%, meanwhile, said that they would pay extra for a product if it can be personalised via immersive tech.

Evident from the numbers is an advanced readiness for immersive technology. According to Accenture Interactive Managing Director for Southeast Asia Thomas Mouritzen, the onus is now on retailers to meet these clear demands.

“Consumers in Singapore and the Asia Pacific stood out as strong advocates for immersive technologies in our survey, and this is a call to action for brands to reimagine digital commerce as consumers are ready for an evolution of the online shopping experience. Consumers want to shop online without sacrificing purchasing confidence. With immersive experiences, they don’t have to. Brands that invest now can enhance consumer relationships, increase online sales and open the door to the next wave of digital commerce.”

Many brands appear to have come to this realisation – the report points out that more than two-thirds of leading brands across the globe are upping their investments in immersive technology such as AR, VR, 3D content and 360-degree video. The next step, according to the researchers, is to go beyond isolated tools to integrated immersive tech experiences.


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