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Research has shown that consumers are interested in the possibilities offered by virtual reality (VR) applications to allow them to demo products before purchase, something which Amazon has tackled in its recently-announced Prime Wardrobe service. Now, a new study [pdf] from L.E.K. Consulting takes a look at the virtual shopping concepts that are most popular with early adopters of VR and augmented reality (AR) applications.

The most popular shopping concepts among these “core customers” are shared by both AR and VR users, and relate to room design. Specifically, respondents express interest in:

  • (Re)designing physical space with furniture (80% of AR users; 79% of VR users); and
  • (Re)designing physical space by touring (74% of AR users; 78% of VR users).

There was also a strong degree of interest in virtual shopping applications:

  • Shopping with a celebrity (69% of AR users; 74% of VR users);
  • Custom-designing items (69% of AR users; 71% of VR users);
  • Shopping virtually with friends (66% of AR users; 71% of VR users); and
  • Shopping with a virtual assistant (65% of AR users; 67% of VR users).

The interest in custom-designing items, where consumers begin with an image of themselves and then search for items that suit them, is interesting in light of a recent Amazon patent filing. The patent focused on enhancing the realistic presentation of physical items on digital devices by demonstrating how a virtual object would reflect light when moved around.

There’s also potential for such applications to make their way into stores. In a recent survey conducted by RichRelevance, 41% of adults surveyed thought it “cool” for digital screens, interactive mirrors, and virtual reality glasses to display additional products that complement what they are trying on in the store. Those in favor outweighed those (34%) who felt that this would be “creepy” with many indifferent (25%).

As for physical stores, while waiting in line is the most common complaint about shopping in stores, the L.E.K. Consulting data shows that that only a minority of AR and VR users are interested in using these applications in order to avoid crowds.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 1,048 consumers who had already experienced AR and VR technology.

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