Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology are slowly gaining ground across Asia Pacific, with Chinese consumers leading the region, the latest research from Worldpay shows.The study, which queried more than 16,000 consumers across eight markets - including China, Japan and Australia in Asia Pacific - to get their viewpoints on VR and AR adoption, reveals that 95% of survey respondents have used VR or AR technology in the past three months.Among different markets, nearly 100% 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. Other APAC markets are more cautious in their VR or AR uptake, with less than a quarter (22%) of survey respondents in Australia saying they’ve used VR technology at some point, and a mere 14% describe themselves as early adopters. Similarly, only 19% in Japan have tried VR technology – the least of any market surveyed.APAC consumers expect to see VR/AR in future retailingThese cautious APAC markets, however, are demonstrating interest in how VR and AR would improve retail experiences. Of the Australian survey respondents, 61% think VR and AR could someday change the way people shop. Two-thirds (66%) of Japanese consumers surveyed would like to see more physical stores using VR and AR, and a full 70% would like to see the technology used in retail apps.With no surprise, Chinese consumers show greatest interest in VR/AR retail experiences. 84% of respondents believe that VR and AR is the future of shopping; 92% say they’d like to see more retail apps make use of VR or AR, and only 1% say they’d never be comfortable making a purchase in a virtual environment.Three approaches that merchants are looking atPhil Pomford, general manager for Asia Pacific at Worldpay, said although some markets are only at the start of their VR journey, technology can go from zero to a hundred in a very short amount of time. "With China leading the way, Asian businesses should start investigating the future of VR and AR technology now, so that they’re ready to meet consumer demands as and when they arise."Pomford further suggested some common approaches that merchants are looking at, which include creating new omni-channel experiences, enhancing mobile shopping, and driving the next generation of consumer-led retail innovations. "A compelling, immersive and seamless VR experience can drive higher customer engagement and may even have the capability to increase sales," he explained. "As more companies experiment with VR and AR, they need to consider if VR technology can support purchases as well. Whatever the sales channel, it’s vital to make the payment process both slick and secure for customers."
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