Chinese visitors expect more future tech for shopping in theme parks

Chinese visitors are increasingly expecting to use futuristic technology when they go shopping in theme parks, research by Omnico has found.

According to the second Omnico Theme Park Barometer, 97% of consumers in China want to use futuristic technology when they go shopping in theme parks; 54% want to use virtual reality (VR) headsets so they can see how they might look wearing clothing or other accessories, while 36% want to use augmented reality software to bring products to life on their smartphones.

The results show that only 16% of Japanese visitors and 31% of Malaysians are interested in using VR to see what they look like in clothing or merchandise. The figures were also lower for the use of augmented reality on smartphones. Only 13% of Japanese and 16% of Malaysians said they wanted to embrace this.

When asked what would make visits more convenient, 89% of Chinese, 75% of Japanese and 61% of Malaysian visitors said a personalised smartphone app itinerary was the answer, while for 71% of Chinese, 62% of Japanese and 55% of Malaysians it was being able to pre-pay for food.

Queuing for rides emerged as the biggest bugbear among all three nationalities (an average 54%). When they were asked how they want to receive real-time updates and make bookings for rides (or restaurants), 70% of Japanese respondents, 66% of Chinese and 58% of Malaysians said they want to use a park app on their own phone or tablet, reflecting a desire to use technology to avoid queues.

"There is an amazing appetite in China for technology to make theme park visits more convenient and exciting - particularly when it comes to shopping," said Mel Taylor, CEO, Omnico. "Although there are differences between the countries, there is definite demand for a more joined-up, unified experience, which park operators need to act on."

The report has surveyed the expectations of 2,000 consumers from China, Malaysia and Japan who have visited a park within the last two years.