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A recent study commissioned and published by Epson, The Experiential Future, revealed the positive impact experiential and immersive experiences could have on the retail sector in the UAE. The consumer survey revealed that experientialism is crucial to changing shoppers’ behaviour and could even see them seek out more in-store shopping if it offered an immersive experience. 92% of respondents in the UAE indicated they would change their shopping behaviour if more shopping destinations had an experiential element, rising to 94% of Generation Z and 93% of Millennials.

The study also revealed that such experiences in retail stores would attract increased spending. 24% of consumers in the UAE claimed they would shop in a store they had never visited before if it offered an experiential element. In the face of rising disruption from e-commerce, these findings show a clear opportunity for in-store retail businesses to start harnessing the power of experientialism to drive growth by attracting new customers and ensuring repeat business. From projection mapping and holograms to gesture control, motion and facial tracking, immersive technologies can and should be used by brands to provide experiences that strengthen the customer/brand relationship.

“New technologies are drastically changing the way that retailers communicate with their audiences – but experiential technology is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ for retailers. Brands must use new tools to revolutionise their stores – that could help them create and maintain a competitive edge. Above all, they must leverage immersive and experiential shopping experiences to help grow their businesses,” comments Neil Colquhoun, Vice President CISMEA and Professional Displays, Epson Europe B.V.

Economic development and prosperity are cornerstones of the UAE Vision 2021, and experientialism can positively contribute towards the UAE’s ambition of becoming the touristic and commercial capital for more than two billion people, by promoting innovation strategic sectors like retail, hospitality, and tourism.

In addition to retail, the study found a consumer appetite for experiential and immersive experiences in the events and tourism sector in the UAE. 68% of consumers in the UAE expressed increased interest in events and attractions that utilise experiential and immersive technologies like large-scale projections, interactive displays, holograms and virtual and augmented reality. 55% of Millennials in UAE would revisit an experiential event or attraction, rising to 74% of Generation X, 57% of Generation Z and 54% of Baby Boomers – demonstrating that experiential technologies help drive customer engagement and return visits. 

The results of this research reveal that businesses in the UAE employing experiential elements stand to gain clear financial advantages, highlighting how the wider economy stands to benefit as a result.

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