VR, AR and beacon technology represent wave of the future according to Mintel trends report
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VR, AR and beacon technology represent wave of the future according to Mintel trends report

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New research from Mintel looking at key consumer trends in Europe has suggested that virtual and augmented reality technologies are about to have a big impact on the consumer market in the UK, as well as beacon technology.

The annual consumer trends report Europe 16 identifies the shifts in European consumer behaviour in multiple markets.

According to Mintel, planned VR and AR headset launches will see consumers enter immersive gamescapes with the power to add entertainment or educational content on top of their normal field of vision using devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens.

The research suggests that as many as half of consumers are already aware of the upcoming VR headsets, with 31 per cent expressing an interest in using them, a significantly higher figure in the 16-24 demographic (53 per cent). 11 per cent of consumers are also interested in buying a headset.

“Excitement would be tempered if these innovations were confined to in-home gaming – and to those players with the funds to afford them,” reads the report. “But they also present businesses with an opportunity to provide in-store experiences and reassurance, areas which consumers continue to value.

“Growing interest will inspire more businesses to embrace this technology as a means of creating immersive advertising, as Boursin has done with its Sensorium ‘refrigerator rollercoaster’. While cost will preclude VR and AR from entering everyone’s homes, it will be increasingly embraced by businesses seeking to variously entertain and reassure consumers, in a bid to win their attention and their custom.”

Boursin’s Sensorium combines advertising with a virtual rollercoaster ride

In addition to virtual reality, the report also identified beacon technology as a growing trend, with the prediction that the short-range location device which transmits directly to smartphones and androids will flourish in the retail and leisure sectors.

“Beacons have the power to bring destinations alive, especially in The Netherlands, where the entire village of Grou has been connected with 100 beacons,” says the report. “Meanwhile, Exterion Media is trialling beacon technology on 500 London buses to send passengers location-relevant marketing alerts.”

Millennials will be early adopters of beacons, with a third of 16-34-year-olds in the UK saying that they would allow brands they like access to their location for relevant offers. The technology has already been applied at visitor attractions, with beacon technology used to offer information at exhibitions about what the user is looking at.

“Beacons will become more plentiful and more accessible,” says the report. “Once consumers realise that they are the ones in control, the technology will be embraced for the convenience, exclusivity, economy, playfulness and serendipity it can deliver.”

Mintel's Europe 16 trends report, which also highlights fears surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the premium of space and time, and water shortages, is available to download free of charge here.

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New research from Mintel looking at key consumer trends in Europe has suggested that virtual and augmented reality technologies are about to have a big impact on the consumer market in the UK, as well as beacon technology.
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