AR & VR could 'drive $66bn in retail sales'

Doubling the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies in retail environments could result in $66 billion of additional sales growth, according to a new report from Accenture.

A study from the professional services firm estimates that just one per cent of retailers are using augmented and virtual reality technologies to improve consumer experience, but that increasing this to 2 per cent could translate into better returns in the coming years.

The study found that nine in 10 C-Suite executives of retail and consumer goods companies said that they are investing in technologies to create virtual environments and plan to invest further in further VR and AR.

Accenture says that retailers and consumer goods firms are currently investing in building “real virtualities” — defined as digital environments that are increasingly realistic, engage all senses, and create a greater connection to the physical world.

An analysis of patents for these technologies indicates that among published patents the share of those mentioning augmented or virtual reality has grown by 277 per cent over the past five years.

In addition, Accenture said that the pandemic has led to one in five consumers moving online for virtual consultations (e.g. hair, makeup) and almost half (46 per cent) plan to continue to do so going forward.

Oliver Wright, global lead of Accenture’s consumer goods & services industry group, said: “The pandemic led to months of limited interaction, forcing a lot of consumer brands to respond with agility and creativity to blend physical and virtual worlds. For instance, in beauty – an industry at the forefront of tech-led innovation – we saw brands make the most their “high engagement” nature by using augmented and virtual reality so that people could “try” different makeup shades, something they previously could only do in stores.”

He added: “Although current immersive technologies mostly engage our senses of vision and hearing, over time they will become increasingly realistic, engaging all senses and turbo-charging a brand’s competitive advantage in the process. In the future manufacturers will not just be making products, they will also be creating new services and experiences and forming an even greater connection to the end consumer in the process.”

    Share Story:

Recent Stories

Find out how HULFT can help you manage data, integration, supply chain automation and digital transformation across your retail enterprise.
Talking shop: retail technology solutions from Brother
Retail Systems editor Peter Walker sits down with Brother’s senior commercial client manager Jessica Stansfield to talk through the company’s solutions for retailers and hospitality businesses, what’s new in labelling technology, and the benefits of outsourcing printing.