Virtual reality (VR) shopping sprees could spell the end for physical high street retailers by 2050, according to new research.
Experts writing in The Future Of Shopping report talk about the impact the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ – a merging of physical, digital and biological technologies – on shopping.
Instead of flocking to department stores and boutique shops, they believe shoppers will make all their purchases from home.
In under 35 years time, shoppers will be more likely to be trying on clothes in virtual changing rooms rather than real ones, and getting advice from artificial intelligence (AI) shop assistants which know exactly how to cater for their tastes.
Adding to the futurisitic trends, online deliveries dropped into the back garden by flying robot drones will become a part of every day life, the report predicts.
Amazon already launched a project exploring the safe use of drones for home deliveries earlier this year with support from the UK government.
The Future of Shopping report forecasts that a number of emerging technologies will gain prominence in the retail sector:
Immersive virtual experiences involving products, such as visiting a cocoa farm to watch beans being picked and processed to make chocolate
Co-author Russell Freeman, chief technology officer at digital marketing agency Holition, said: “It’s ironic that the fashion industry is renowned for its innovation, yet the way we shop is so old-fashioned. From having to use a changing room, to being offered limited space in a shop, the whole experience is generic.
“The future of shopping offers personalised experiences for people, dependent on their taste and mood, and at Holition we see it as the humanising of technology.
“Augmented reality, virtual reality, drone delivery and artificial intelligence will completely change the way we shop. It’s an exciting time – on the cusp of a revolution.”
Paul Jackson, chief executive of EngineeringUK, said: “It is the young people studying maths and science today who will drive this ‘revolution’ in the future.
“They will build on advances in artificial intelligence, drones and virtual reality and develop other innovative technologies that will shape our day-to-day lives.”
Chiese shopping giant Alibaba recently introduced a VR shopping experience. For more details watch the video below: