The consumer goods industry is saturated by the variety of items present on the supermarket shelves. Competition is fierce among brands, and thus they need to find ways to stand out. One way would be to leverage solutions that can grab consumers’ attention, and offer them immersive, stimulating experiences. Therefore, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector has a huge potential to benefit from augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) integration.

Consumer Trends

Listed below are the key consumer trends impacting VR and AR, as identified by GlobalData.

Product placement and style advisor apps

AR can prove useful for combining views of customers’ surroundings or on their bodies and products that are virtually projected in so that customers can check if they fit well in terms of colour, shape, style, and measurements, and thus make better purchasing decisions. One example is furniture and home décor purchases, which can be showcased virtually beforehand without the need to offer expensive showrooms.

Smart mirrors or smart fitting rooms

AR can be used for trying on products such as apparel and cosmetics virtually, eliminating the need to get changed. In smart fitting rooms or through smart mirrors in stores, customers can view themselves with their desired products in a combined view to check if they fit well.

Product demonstration

VR and AR technology can be used by FMCG companies and retailers alike to show how to use various products such as do it yourself (DIY) tools or electricals, or to promote clothing lines or beauty products. Restaurants and food companies can use VR to visually demonstrate how the food is cooked and demonstrate recipe suggestions.

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By GlobalData


FMCG companies, retailers, and restaurants alike are increasingly looking to train their staff virtually, to cut down on costs and the environmental impact. This is especially relevant in 2020, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Enhanced packaging

Consumer goods companies are equipping product packaging with AR features for a more interactive and fun experience and to offer more product information or additional details (about the brand, the product, etc) beyond the limitations of physical packaging.

Virtual tours

Companies are using VR technology to allow consumers to virtually experience deeper parts of a brand’s identity through virtual tours. For example, alcoholic beverage companies are using VR to offer consumers virtual brewery tours to communicate their authentic production processes better and build consumer trust. Furthermore, restaurants can offer virtual tours of their establishments prior to people visiting them in person. FMCG companies are also adopting the technology to highlight their support for ethical and sustainability initiatives.

Augmented consumption

AR and VR can augment the sensory experiences by altering the appearance of food or drinks. Furthermore, AR can also be used to relay digital information on physical content, such as cookbooks, in order to help with recipe preparation and cooking processes.

Product design and development

VR and AR can be used by companies to improve their supply chain, as the technology allows designers to model and test virtual prototypes without physical construction. This eliminates costs associated with trial and error, and also enables developers to get a better understanding of the product earlier in the production process.


AR or VR-based interactive games or gamified tools are exceptional ways to interact with consumers, boost sales in the long run, and attract new audiences. VR-based games can be offered in stores to engage and entertain visitors, and teach them about the products or the companies. AR-based games can be offered on packaging, restaurant menus or tables, or via a mobile app.

AR advertising

AR gives advertisers the ability to provide more inventive, eye-catching, and interactive experiences, and move beyond non-interactive media like print and TV. Brands like Pepsi and Lacoste have run campaigns in which smartphone cameras overlay virtual objects onto the real world. Likewise, Timberland, Sephora, L’Oréal, and Michael Kors have produced AR adverts for social media channels.

WebAR-based advertising campaigns are also emerging. In 2018, Saban’s Power Rangers campaign recorded a click-through rate of 2.1%, outpacing the then industry benchmark of 0.08%, according to the campaign developer Vertebrae.

This is an edited extract from the Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Consumer Goods – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.