Consumer techies expect big digital things by 2030 – Ericsson

Survey of early AR/VR adopters finds many rubbing their virtual hands together in glee at prospect of various digital experiences in shopping malls by 2030.

Ken Wieland, contributing editor

December 23, 2021

3 Min Read
Consumer techies expect big digital things by 2030 – Ericsson

From oxygenated virtual reality (VR) headsets used in swimming pools giving the sensation of zero-gravity in space, to medical scans using AI wizardry, today's digital-savvy consumers expect and want a variety of AR/VR experiences in shopping malls by the time 2030 comes around.

This was the finding of an online survey conducted by Ericsson ConsumerLab of more than 7,000 early adopters of AR/VR technology and virtual assistants spread across 14 major cities.

According to Ericsson, tapping into the views of early adopters can give a useful guide to consumer technology expectations over the next decade. The ConsumerLab set them a specific task of rating 15 hybrid shopping mall facilities "that extend the physical consumer experience using digital technology."

These included immersive and sustainable shopping experiences, high-tech beauty salons, and a "meta tailor" providing customized clothes – with the help of AR/VR and AI – for physical purchases (as well as dressing up digital avatars).

Nearly 80% of survey respondents expected that all 15 concepts flagged by Ericsson will be available in some form by 2030, with 85% wanting to use at least ten of these facilities themselves. Around four out of every ten AR/VR adopters canvassed also said they would like to have at least five of these facilities in their local mall.

Top ten

Based on survey results, Ericsson ConsumerLab produced a report, 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030, focused on the ten most popular digital shopping mall concepts, which, when assembled together, created what it called a notional "Everyspace Plaza" that might exist by 2030 (if early AR/VR enthusiasts' expectations are realized).

Nearly 80% of survey respondents could foresee event halls using telepresence technology to allow artists to digitally perform as if they were there.

The idea of sharing cultural experiences – cinema, theater and concerts – was valued highly by most of those canvassed.

One surprise finding, perhaps, was that 25% of those survey respondents who said they didn't want to visit multi-sensory-enabled event halls said this type of thing could affect them "negatively." Highly immersive experiences are not for everyone it seems.

Other facilities anticipated in "Everyspace Plaza" include a "hybrid gym." Eight out of ten survey respondents expect AR/VR treadmills that immerse them in online environments.

Want to know more about video and streaming media? Check out our dedicated Video/Media channel here on Light Reading.

There was also enthusiasm for an "immersive beauty salon" where volumetric modeling technology can be used to digitally enhance looks. One caveat here was that nearly 40% of survey respondents flagged cost as a barrier to regular beauty salon visits of this sort.

The shopping experience, as anticipated by today's early adopters of AR/VR tech, will also change a fair bit. "Brick-and-portal stores," where consumers can project their own home on shop floors – so they can try out products virtually at home – seem to be eagerly anticipated.

No doubt because all survey respondents were based in metropolitan areas, there was high enthusiasm for digital interaction with nature. 73% of survey respondents could foresee an "AR/VR zoo" where you can interact with any animal, even those that are extinct.

The full report can be found here.

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Ken Wieland

contributing editor

Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 15 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a freelance telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.

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