Are you playing catchup with your consumers on VR?

CMOs take heed: Metaverse technologies like VR are transforming the e-commerce experience. More consumers are strapping on headsets to browse, learn and buy.

The Leadership Agenda

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Consumers are already using VR to buy physical products, including luxury goods.

Have you used VR in the last six months?

Slice Yes 2,878 No 6,191
Slice Yes 2,878 No 6,191

How have you used it?

To play games or watch a movie/TV show
To join a virtual world?(e.g., to experience a retail environment or a concert)
To purchase products as a result of testing them/browsing stores via VR
To purchase digital products/non-fungible token (NFTs)?(e.g., avatars, digital artwork)
To purchase luxury goods

If your conversations about reaching consumers wherever they happen to shop include a plan for virtual reality (VR), you may be onto something. VR is a relative newcomer to the so-called omnichannel experience for retail, marking a convergence between physical stores and e-commerce across multiple devices, but consumers have started to embrace it. VR’s reach is already surprising. A full one-third of the respondents in PwC’s new Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey report having used the technology in the past six months. And although half of that group used VR to play games or watch movies and TV shows, many also reported using the technology for a retail experience. One-third had joined a virtual world specifically to experience a retail environment, and one-third also reported purchasing products after testing them or browsing stores in VR. Perhaps most surprising: just shy of 20% of respondents said they used VR to purchase luxury goods. That’s right—even high-margin products for the least price-sensitive consumers are a hit in the metaverse.

We expect the appeal of VR to grow. The consumers who are empowered by technology are most likely to use comparison sites to seek product availability and shop with multiple retailers to meet their needs. A whopping 81% of survey respondents tell us they have shopped across at least three or four channels in the past six months, with more than half shopping daily or weekly. And although consumers switching from online to in-store shopping may be driven by unmet product delivery expectations and perceptions of lower product quality, neither in-store nor online channels have an advantage. Consumers are just as likely to switch between one and the other in either direction.

It may seem early in the game to embrace VR, but CMOs in every industry, particularly those in retail, should consider what role this technology could play in their customer journey and check in on their customer-experience team’s plan for VR and metaverse experimentation.

Explore other surprising findings in our latest Global Consumer Insights Survey

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Contact us

Alastair Rimmer

Alastair Rimmer

Global Deals Strategy Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Hein Marais

Hein Marais

Global Value Creation Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7740 064729

Peter Gassmann

Peter Gassmann

Global Leader, Strategy&

Gregory Nahass

Gregory Nahass

Partner, PwC United States

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