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10/01/2021

Survey: Online shoppers want to visualize products, aren’t using AR

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Most consumers have yet to take advantage of online augmented reality experiences.

Fewer than one in three U.S. online consumers has used a virtual try-on/augmented reality (AR) feature.

 Seventy-one percent of surveyed U.S. adults that have shopped online within the past year say they have never used virtual try-on/AR features while online shopping, according to the “Consumer Shopping and Personalization” report from personalization platform Zakeke. Younger consumers are more inclined to use these features – 33% of respondents between the ages of 35-54 have done so, compared to only 15% of respondents ages 55 and up.

However, 41% of all respondents, including 46% of respondents ages 18-34, want a personalized shopping experience. When looking into the products for which consumers want a personalized experience, apparel (30%), shoes (30%), home goods (25%), and furniture (19%) were the most popular categories. As far as the kind of customization options consumers look for:

  • 36% of respondents want to see other products they might like based on items they have viewed.
  • 32% of respondents want the option to customize their purchase.
  • 29% of respondents want to view other items often purchased with the product they are currently viewing

In addition, apparel (35%), shoes (34%), and household furniture (29%) were the product categories respondents most need to visualize/interact with before buying online. The response for furniture includes one in six respondents over 35 years old.

Recent research from Accenture indicates that retailers are doubling down on their efforts to build online environments that are increasingly like the physical world. Data from the Accenture Business Futures Report reveals that nine in 10 surveyed 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, and 73% said that virtual environments will primarily enhance our interactions and experiences in physical environments. 

Currently, Accenture estimates that 1% of retailers use augmented and virtual reality technologies to improve consumer experience; increasing this to 2% could translate into an estimated additional sales growth of $66 billion. Accenture’s patents analysis indicates that, among published patents, the share of those mentioning augmented or virtual reality has grown by 277% over the past five years.

“We know more people are turning to online shopping – it’s convenient, there are endless options and with the right technology, consumers can have a nearly identical experience to shopping at a physical location, so it’s surprising to see that most consumers aren’t using these tools,” said Angelo Coletta, CEO of Zakeke. “One respondent noted that if they are going to buy something online, they’ll go into the physical store to try it on/interact with it, then go home to purchase the product online. This should be a red flag to retailers that something needs to change. To drive sales, increase repeat visits and build a loyal customer base, retailers need to invest in the right kind of technology that’s easy to use, both for the retailer and for the consumer.”

YouGov Plc. was commissioned by Zakeke to survey 1,127 U.S. adults 18 and up who have shopped online in the last year.