Some interesting findings around the potential for virtual reality to push more sales online in this Future of Retail study released by Walker Sands.
Although not travel specific, the study tips virtual reality as an emerging technology which will change consumer shopping habits albeit to the detriment of the high street.
The research, carried out among 1,400 US consumers, shows more than a third (35%) would shop more online if they were able to virtually try a product or service using technology such as an Oculus Rift headset.
In addition, almost two thirds expect the technology to impact the shopping experience in the future and 66% say they would be interested in virtual shopping.
For travel retailers, grappling to marry offline with online, the technology might not mean a decrease in footfall, well not immediately at least.
Tour operators such as TUI and Thomas Cook in Europe are already using the technology in their stores to bring holidays to life.
Thomas Cook said last year that it was testing virtual reality holidays at its Kent-based concept store using Oculus Rift headsets. TUI is also trialling the technology with cruise ship tours as well as an in-store initiative.
The interest from consumers in trying technology such as Oculus Rift is also good news for retailers with 49% of consumers keen it give it a go and about a third interested in purchasing the technology for themselves.
Other elements covered by the study (although not the final published version) include a section on the sharing economy revealing that 57% of consumers have rented or shared an item or service in the past year and almost three-quarters are open to doing so this year.
Accommodation is the most widely rented service with 42% saying they already have shared their apartment, house etc and 48% saying they are open to the idea.
Overall the research findings are an interesting barometer for travel suppliers of how consumers feel about the shopping experience.
- 68% of US consumers shop online at least once a month, 28% purchase online once a week
- Amazon is trusted above most other retailers so it will be interested to say what, if any, further moves it makes into travel
- Consumers are comfortable with spending increasing amounts online, 76% are happy to spend $100 or more without seeing a product first
- 40% of consumers have used a mobile payment mechanism (8% in 2013) but there is still some hesitancy for the majority with concerns around security and privacy.
The Walker Sands 2015 Future of Retail study can be downloaded here
. The research surveyed more than 1400 US consumers on their online shopping habits.
NB: Virtual reality image via Shutterstock.