Press Release

China Leads the World in Virtual Reality

New Worldpay research finds that Chinese consumers are ready and eager to adopt the next generation of virtual and augmented reality shopping experiences

April 25, 2017

25th May 2017 – China – New research from Worldpay, a leader in global payments, has revealed that Chinese consumers are leading the world in their adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology. A full 95% of survey respondents in China said they’ve used VR or AR technology in the past three months; more than three times the rate of VR use around the globe. In addition, half (50%) of Chinese consumers surveyed are regular VR users, and more than four in five say that VR/AR technology is the future of shopping.

Worldpay’s research queried more than 16,000 consumers across eight markets to get their viewpoints on VR/AR adoption – from current uptake and future potential, to the technology’s benefits and barriers. In China, the research has revealed that consumers are hungry for VR/AR technology, and are effortlessly outpacing the rest of the world in their enthusiastic adoption of it. Key findings include:

  • 95% of Chinese consumers have used VR/AR technology in the last three months
  • While 36% say security is a concern, nearly all Chinese consumers (96%) are still more than happy to make purchases in a virtual environment
  • 84% believe VR/AR technology is the future of shopping
  • Only 1% of consumers would never be comfortable making a purchase in a virtual environment
  • 49% of Chinese consumers said that the ability to visualise a product or experience in VR/AR would make them more likely to impulse buy, and
  • 92% of consumers would like to see more retail apps make use of VR/AR.

Tang Kok San, Country Manager for China at Worldpay, said: “With China’s famously rapid pace of embracing new technology, it’s certainly no surprise to learn that Chinese consumers are blazing the trail as the global leader in VR and AR adoption. Nearly 100% of them have tried AR or VR technology at least once, and more than half use these technologies at least once per week. What’s more, Chinese consumers are moving beyond video games and entertainment; driving new demands to see AR and VR technology across a variety of business applications, and spearheading the next generation of shopping experiences.”

Worldpay’s research found that when it comes to retail, consumers in China are ready and eager to integrate more VR and AR technology into shopping. Ninety-six per cent of respondents said they would be interested in using VR/AR technology to improve how they shop, and 78% think that using a device is a more fun way of shopping online. Although there are some security concerns when it comes to shopping with VR technology, 60% of respondents in China say that storing payment details in virtual reality is safe – once again distinguishing China as one of the world’s most technologically confident markets.

Kok San added: “The rapid pace of AR/VR development we’re now seeing in China is a sign of what’s to come for the rest of the world. Merchants looking to stand out in China’s vibrant retail marketplace shouldn’t waste any time in investigating how they can integrate AR and VR technology into their customer experiences – whether it’s through in-store Omni-channel opportunities, or VR-enabled eCommerce. With an avid appetite for online and mobile shopping, as well as the latest digital payment systems, Chinese consumers inherently trust the value that technology brings to retail, and they are ready to upgrade how they shop with AR and VR technology. “

“As more companies experiment with VR/AR in their endeavour to drive higher customer engagement, they need to consider if VR technology can support purchases as well. Whatever the sales channel, it’s vital to make the payment process both slick and secure for customers. A compelling, immersive and seamless VR experience may even have the capability to increase sales.”

In response to this, researchers at Worldpay are investigating how shoppers can pay using a credit or debit card while remaining immersed within a virtual environment. The global payments processor has created a proof of concept, which provides the same levels of convenience, and security that shoppers have in-store and online, without needing to leave the virtual world.

The prototype design uses Host Card Emulation (HCE) to virtualise the purchasing process. The payment uses EMV* technology, and works in the same way a contactless payment does – with a tap of the (virtual) card across a (virtual) card machine. For higher value purchases, Worldpay has created a technology called AirPIN. This first of its kind system allows the consumer to see a range of numbers whilst immersed in the virtual world, and then collect the four numbers that make up their PIN, one by one, using their virtual controller.

About the data
The research was conducted by research house Opinium in March 2017 and interviewed 16,000 consumers who have heard about Virtual or Augmented Reality in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, United States of America and United Kingdom.

About Worldpay
Worldpay is a leading payments company with global reach. We provide an extensive range of technology-led payment products and services to around 400,000 customers, enabling their businesses to grow and prosper. We manage the increasing complexity of the payments landscape for our customers, allowing them to accept the widest range of payment types around the world. Using our network and technology, we are able to process payments from geographies covering 99% of global GDP, across 146 countries and 126 currencies. We help our customers to accept more than 300 different payment types.

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For more information, please contact:

Global eCom
Emily Lahey, PR Director
+44 (0) 203 664 5663

Robert Guan