Gartner: 100 million consumers will shop in AR online, in-store by 2020

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are initially used in the entertainment and games platform. As more case uses are tested, Gartner, a research and advisory company, predicts that by next year, these emerging technologies will go mainstream through retail.

In a Gartner’s consumer survey, it found out that by 2020, 100 million users will shop in AR online and in-store.

Gartner’s Unified Retail Retailer Survey was conducted online and via computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) from July 2018 through August 2018, with 97 respondents in Canada, China, Europe — including the United Kingdom — and the United States. The aim was to help Gartner understand organizations’ multichannel or cross-channel strategies and digital business initiatives.

“Retailers are under increasing pressure to explain the purpose of physical stores, and take control of the fulfillment and return process for cross-channel execution,” said Hanna Karki, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a media release. “At the same time, consumers are progressively defining the value provided by the experiences they receive from retailers. As a result of these pressures, retailers are turning to AR and VR to offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores.”

The survey also revealed AR is in the pipeline of 46 percent of retailers anticipating the influx of other use cases to woo consumers. The technologies behind these solutions have moved 15 to 30 percent further along the Gartner Hype Cycle over the past 12 months.

“The impact of AR or VR in retail can be transformative,” said Karki. “Retailers can use AR as an extension of the brand experience to engage customers in immersive environments and drive revenue. For example, IKEA’s Place app enables customers to virtually ‘place’ IKEA products in their space. Additionally, AR can be used outside the store after a sale to increase customer satisfaction and improve loyalty.”

Experiencing products through VR and simulation technologies will allow consumers to have a better understanding of information.

Gartner mentioned in its release how companies like Alibaba is utilizing VR to give its consumers a better shopping experience. Supermarket Tesco offers virtual reality tours while clothing brand Adidas offers VR video to promote its outdoor clothing collection.

With technology like this, a faster connection through 5G is necessary. Gartner’s recent 5G enterprise survey indicated that AR/VR applications of 5G attract the highest expectations for becoming drivers of new revenue, across all use cases and respondents. 5G capabilities can support multiple uses cases, such as real-time rendering for immersive video, shorter download and set-up times, and extension of brands and shopping experiences beyond stores.

“Gartner expects that the implementation of 5G and AR/VR in stores will transform not only customer engagement but also the entire product management cycle of brands,” said Sylvain Fabre, senior research director at Gartner. “5G can optimize warehouse resources, enhance store traffic analytics and enable beacons that communicate with shoppers’ smartphones.”

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