Accenture Report Finds Growing Consumer Interest in “Virtual Living”
Immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will spur consumer-facing companies to increase investment in new capabilities and experiences that blend physical and virtual worlds, according to a new report from Accenture that uses the term “virtual living” to describe this approach.
The research and advisory firm said that successful consumer-facing companies are already using AR and VR to build digital environments that are increasingly realistic and create a greater connection to the physical world. Companies that don’t already have the technology or that don’t include it soon will likely fall behind, researchers said.
Virtual Living Report
The research found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers had already purchased a virtual good or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year, while 83% expect to do so at some time. Nearly half (42%) of survey respondents visited a retailer in the virtually for advice, to make a payment or browse a product range while shopping for a physical item. That figure is expected to grow to 56% in the next year.
The survey also found:
- More than half (55%) of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving into digital spaces.
- Ninety percent of retail executives expect leading organizations to push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real.
“The metaverse era has begun, and so for consumer-facing companies, it’s not about deciding if they’re going to go into the metaverse, it’s deciding how,’’ said Jill Standish, Acccenture retail group senior managing director, in an article about virutal living. “Retailers and brands will need to reimagine and experiment with what new immersive and consultative experiences could mean to consumers. In addition to new opportunities to sell, the metaverse can also help build loyalty through experiences that go beyond just buying a product. For instance, retailers can create a personalized experience by offering a live-stream shopping event where customers can sit next to a brand ambassador, and then immediately be able to step into a virtual dressing room where they can try something on, add it to their cart, and check out.”