91% consumers expect brands to offer immersive, virtual experiences: Report

As consumers become more aware of new technologies and explore virtual and immersive environments, marketers and consumers alike are eagerly embracing artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI (Gen AI).According to a report by Adobe that surveyed 13,000 consumers and 4,250 marketing and customer experience professionals worldwide, AI and other breakthrough technologies have made a significant impact on consumer behaviour and online business practices.

India and APAC consumers show higher demand for digital experiencesIn the Future of Digital Experiences report, Adobe highlights that although 53 per cent of Indian consumers currently prefer shopping in physical stores, the numbers are expected to drop to 44 per cent within two years. This shift towards digital experiences is more prominent in APAC compared to the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It reflects consumers’ growing expectations for brands to expand their digital presence into new formats.

The report also states that 96 per cent of Indian consumers expect to view product videos before making a purchase. Additionally, approximately 91 per cent of Indian consumers express desire for brands to offer new ways to engage in immersive and virtual worlds.The study highlights that consumers and marketers in India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand are more proactive in embracing new digital experience formats, environments, and tools compared to their counterparts in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

For example, in India, Malaysia, and Singapore, a significant majority of consumers (81 per cent, 70 per cent, and 66 per cent respectively) expect more personalised and relevant digital experiences, leveraging the data and technologies accessible to brands.In contrast, only 32 per cent of consumers in Australia and New Zealand, and merely 13 per cent in Japan, express similar expectations.

Similarly, consumers in India, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia anticipate new and innovative ways for brands to engage with virtual or immersive worlds (91 per cent, 87 per cent, 87 per cent, and 83 per cent respectively), compared to 48 per cent in Japan, and 59 per cent and 62 per cent in New Zealand and Australia respectively.

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Factors driving consumer expectations

The Adobe report highlighted the impact of the current economic climate on consumer expectations. Approximately 82 per cent of Indian consumers feel that their expectations have risen due to the challenging economic conditions.This sentiment is particularly strong among younger consumers, with 70 per cent of APAC Gen Zs expressing higher expectations during a downturn, compared to 65 per cent globally.

Trust assumes greater importance for APAC consumers, surpassing price and selection, with younger consumers placing an even higher premium on trust.Generative AI is seen as a powerful tool by Indian marketing and customer experience professionals. Almost 60 per cent of respondents found AI helpful in their work, with 21 per cent describing it as nothing short of a “miracle.”

It is also anticipated to aid in personalising customer experiences and identifying new audiences and customer journeys.How are brands meeting the new demands?

To meet these evolving demands, brands in India are planning to introduce innovative digital experiences. According to the report some brands are looking to add the following experiences:88 per cent are looking to add the ability to build virtual products and convert them into physical items

87 per cent are organising virtual/immersive events

86 per cent claimed to provide VIP access to virtual influencers and celebrities

85 per cent are offering digital tokens to trade for virtual and physical products

Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz