Beyond the need for fresh products to keep consumers engaged and satisfied in their quest for newness, the luxury industry faces a fundamental need for transformation from the outside, in. The new luxury consumer is engaging with the industry in new ways and with different values and objectives. Less interested in seeking out status and visible signs of wealth, today’s luxury shopper is more concerned with  higher-level consumer experience and a sense of belonging to a community. This consumer is willing to pay more for “do-good” brands, traceability, sustainability and expect to be supported in their quest by omni-channel brand touch points that go beyond marketing to become potentially life enhancing. For in depth insight check out our latest industry snapshot here.

Big and getting bigger

Until recently augmented and virtual reality for the masses seemed futuristic. Yet Goldman Sachs, estimates the extended reality (the buzz word that includes both AR and VR) to be pulling in $80bn in revenue by 2025, while the “accelerated uptake” scenario raises this figure to a sizable $182bn. Alongside gaming, live events and video entertainment, retail is listed as having one of the strongest demands for these technologies. And who set the example for retail? Luxury. With a higher touch and more investment per customer, in many ways luxury is paving the way for the new retail landscape, within the experience economy..

The social link

It’s interesting to note that Facebook has acquired multiple AR and VR companies over the last decade including the VR headset leader Oculus in 2014. According to their website they “operate five research facilities around the world to drive AR/VR technology into the future.” Connecting the dots, a newly released study from Ipsos Mori Research findings suggest that 93 percent, or nearly all luxury consumers, use social media on a regular basis and 88 percent of luxury shoppers use Facebook owned social media every day. These indicators seem to point to a world where these technologies will become not only integrated with the platforms on which we consume, but the very platforms themselves. To get more info on where luxury is today, check out our latest industry insider report.

The new normal

Seeing one’s appearance modified using Snapchat filters is beyond normal for our children’s generation. These facial recognition and augmented reality lenses found in wide-spead applications like Instagram have allowed consumers across the spectrum to accept and become comfortable with using AR. Beyond comfortable, the younger  generation now expects it as part of their digital and non-digital brand experience. Virtual try-ons, are an example of life enhancing brand AR usage. Gucci’s Ace sneaker line can be tried on from the comfort of one's home within it’s own app. Gucci has extended AR usage to their homeware collection, where other AR features allow users to virtually personalize their space with pieces from the new Gucci Décor collection. Luxury design teams across industries are beginning to include AR to co-design custom products with consumers to meet the hyper-connected millenical’s expectations for personalisation. 

While the AR experience allows beauty shoppers to see how products will look, match skin tone and see what “look” best suits their face shape. Users are able to experiment with various makeup looks in a virtual, selfie-ready, environment, before  physically touching or purchasing the products, to select their preferred products. The prevalence of this kind of virtual try-before-buy means it will soon be a consumer norm rather than novelty.

The people problem

Beyond technical challenges—ranging from battery life on hardware to tracking—one potential barrier to rapid progress in the AR and VR industries can’t be denied: the lack of talent. The industry is so new it is difficult to measure the gap in supply and demand of talent. “US data shows that demand for freelancers with VR expertise is growing far faster than that for any other skill. Similarly, a recent survey of 200 Canadian companies working on VR projects concluded that VR will face a talent crunch that could fuel consolidation between companies,” according to a McKinsey report dubbed Augmented and virtual reality: The promise and peril of immersive technologies. The harsh reality is that talent shortage is limiting not only company growth, but the larger potential for applications for extended reality.

Part of the solution

Ironically in this virtual world in which the idea of "physical place" is no longer important, AR technology and VR technology may also one day be part of the solution to their own problem by helping businesses create virtual environments to work from anywhere in the world. AR and VR have the potential to  change the way we live, work, and learn. The only limit to its growth and optimisation is this lack of ready and available talent. Here at Comet we’ve designed our services  to be part of the solution.

To confront today's digitally-disrupted global marketplace and cater to the hyper-connected consumer of tomorrow, true agility is required. Technology alone is not enough, it is through the human that real transformation can be sustained. Comet’s freelance talent community comes highly motivated, because they choose the projects on which they work. 

Powered by AI in order to intelligently detect, qualify and match a contingent workforce with corporate projects, we are trusted by leading companies such as Renault, LVMH, Société Générale, BNP, Payfit and Allianz, and have been recognized by Gartner Inc. as a 2019 Cool Vendor. Our agile workforce comprises thousands of qualified experts who are available on-demand and risk-free, within 24 hours.

The technology is available and the consumer is ready. Comet provides the missing part: the people.