More than a quarter (27%) of consumers expect retail brands to use emerging technologies as part of their Christmas experience, according to a new study.
Research conducted by Adobe and Goldsmiths, University of London reveals that 2016 is the year of branded ‘Christmas experiences’ and, while still largely the reserve of big brands, emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are being increasingly deployed by marketers to help grab the attention of consumers.
In a survey of over 500 UK marketers preparing their Christmas campaigns, over two thirds of respondents surveyed (68%) felt that using technologies like VR provides brands with a competitive edge.
Nearly a third (32%) agreed that it helps drive customer loyalty to the brand, and more than half (55%) believe that it is useful in attracting potential customers.
While marketers are generally excited by the marketing opportunities offered by emerging technologies, and despite their higher visibility this year, widespread usage remains unlikely until next Christmas or beyond.
One third of UK marketers surveyed (32%) said that implementing them at present is still too difficult, suggesting that budgets and lack of knowledge are key challenges to implementation.
Visibility among consumers is also relatively low, found a YouGov poll of over 2,000 UK adults, with 44% admitting they have not seen these technologies used around the festive season.
It also found that almost 3 in 10 (29%) of consumers would be interested in seeing these technologies used in future, with just over one-fifth (22%) saying emerging technologies would attract them to a specific brand at Christmas.
John Watton, EMEA Marketing Director at Adobe said: “Our research has revealed that both marketers and consumers are only just beginning to get to grips with emerging technologies like VR and AR. The demand is increasing, but many organisations are still evaluating whether they have a viable place in their marketing strategies.
“There can be no better time than Christmas to get a better understanding of how, or indeed if, brands are creating new and deeper connections with potential and existing customers using these technologies – in an era when the customer experience is everything.”