One interactivity consultancy certainly thinks so, with its global survey on pandemic-driven e-commerce trends.

Immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality and 3D content can enhance consumer purchasing confidence and increase online sales, a global study of 3,000 people asserts. 

This supposed tendency could be attributed to the impact of pandemic, which has shifted consumer behavior globally for sure. The report by Accenture Interactive goes further to assert that shoppers now embrace new immersive technologies related to online shopping, with 54% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) stating that these technologies made them feel connected with products. This is higher than their Europe and North America counterparts.

The report suggests that as companies increase their focus on these technologies, they should shift their thinking from investing in one-off experiences to driving scale and efficiency to these experiences. The research asserts that immersive experiences can boost consumer confidence in online purchases by 4% globally. In Singapore, consumers were more confident with their online purchase if the product was marketed using immersive technologies (56%) as compared to products that did not (47%). 

AR, VR and 3D

About 64% of leading consumer brands polled globally are starting to invest in augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D content and 360-degree video. Said Thomas Mouritzen, Managing Director (Southeast Asia),  Accenture Interactive: “Consumers in Singapore and the Asia Pacific stood out as strong advocates for immersive technologies in our survey, and this is a call to action for brands to reimagine digital commerce as consumers are ready for an evolution of the online shopping experience.”

According to Mouritzen, consumers want to shop online without sacrificing purchasing confidence. “With immersive experiences, they do not have to. Brands that invest now can enhance consumer relationships, increase online sales and open the door to the next wave of digital commerce.”

The research also found that Singapore consumers in particular, are ready for a revamped online shopping experience, with more than half (58%) saying they would pay extra for a product if they could customize or personalize it using immersive technologies. Some consumers were also open to purchasing more online big-ticket items such as cars and luxury goods online. 

Some of the report’s other findings: 

  • Consumers polled in APAC were the greatest advocates of immersive technologies while their counterparts in Europe were less favorable (68% vs 54% respectively).
  • Consumers polled in APAC were marginally more likely to express a preference for ongoing engagement, while those in North America and Europe were more likely to prefer a transactional engagement (40% vs 30% vs 31% respectively). 
  • More than half (59%) of Singapore consumers would better remember brands that regularly engage them with immersive technologies. More than half (58%) of Singaporean consumers shared that experiencing products before purchasing was their top motivation for trying immersive technologies.

The firm’s Managing Director for Strategy and Innovation commented: “Unlike anything else in digital commerce, immersive experiences provide accessibility and tangibility. When a few clicks let you see a designer handbag in 3D or a 360° view of a mountain top getaway, and augmented reality lets you see if a lipstick color works with your skin tone, you’re that much closer to experiencing the truth about the product.”