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Virtual reality tech gaining ground in Asia Pacific

Confidence in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology is on the rise across Asia Pacific, although adoption rates vary from country to country, new research shows.

In a survey of more than 16,000 consumers across eight markets – including China, Japan and Australia – Worldpay found that VR and AR technology are slowly gaining ground across Asia Pacific.

Chinese consumers are leading the region – and the world – with 95 per cent of survey respondents saying they’ve used VR or AR technology in the past three months.

Other APAC markets are more cautious in their uptake of this technology, yet remain confident that the technology may play an important role in the future of retail.

In Australia, only 22 per cent of survey respondents say they’ve used VR technology at some point, and a mere 14 per cent describe themselves as early adopters. It’s a similar situation in Japan, where only 19 per cent have tried VR technology.

In contrast, nearly 100 per cent of Chinese consumers surveyed say they’ve tried AR or VR technology at least once, and more than half use these technologies at least once per week.

Phil Pomford, general manager for Asia Pacific at Worldpay, said: “China is blazing a trail for VR/AR adoption and showing other Asia Pacific markets what the future could look like.

“At the moment, the technology isn’t driving a huge amount of uptake in markets like Australia and Japan – but as we’ve seen before, technology can go from zero to a hundred in a very short amount of time.

“Therefore, with China leading the way, Asian businesses should start investigating the future of VR/AR technology now, so that they’re ready to meet consumer demands as and when they arise.”

Already, even cautious Asia Pacific markets are demonstrating interest in how virtual and augmented reality can improve retail experiences.

Of Australian survey respondents, 61 per cent think VR and AR could someday change the way we shop.

Two-thirds of Japanese consumers surveyed would like to see more physical stores using virtual and augmented reality, and a full 70 per cent would like to see the technology used in retail apps.

Unsurprisingly, Chinese consumers’ interest in virtual and augmented reality retail experiences is even more enthusiastic – 84 per cent of respondents believe that VR/AR is the future of shopping, 92 per cent say they’d like to see more retail apps make use of VR/AR, and only 1 per cent say they’d never be comfortable making a purchase in a virtual environment.

“Many merchants are already looking at how VR/AR technology might create new channel experiences, enhance mobile shopping, and drive the next generation of consumer-led retail innovations,” Pomford added.



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