The World (Especially China) is Prepping for V-Commerce: Report

While video games are currently the most popular consumer application for virtual reality and augmented reality systems, using the technology to shop and pay is a logical next step, according to the results of a new study from Worldpay. The company, which keynoted at last week’s CNP Expo, surveyed 16,000 consumers in eight major countries and found 55 percent agreed that virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technology will soon be as popular as smartphones. Nearly three-quarters said retail and shopping would be one of the most popular areas in which people would be interested in using VR/AR.

As with e-commerce and mobile, China is likely to lead the pack regarding consumer adoption of VR/AR for shopping. Ninety-three percent of consumers polled by Worldpay in China said they would consider buying a product using a VR or AR device. In the U.S., 58 percent gave the same answer, while adoption figures to lag in Europe—only 35 percent of U.K. respondents and 30 percent in the Netherlands said they would consider purchasing via virtual or augmented reality. Cost is their main concern, followed by security.

“Although global markets are at very different stages of adoption, they share similar concerns—namely payment security,” said Casey Bullock, general manager for North America at Worldpay. “As more companies experiment with VR/AR in their endeavor to drive higher customer engagement, they need to consider if VR technology can support purchases as well. Whatever sales channel, it’s vital to make the payment process both slick and secure for customers. A compelling, immersive and seamless VR experience may even have the capability to increase sales.”

Worldpay has developed payment software for HTC’s Vive VR system that will enable shoppers to pay for an item by staring at it in the virtual environment.

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