“Millennials are members of the first generation more interested in experiences than acquiring more “stuff”. Gen Z’ers are even more interested in experiences beyond the brand or the product,” observes DeYoung. “Virtual reality is becoming a unique experience. In its best iteration, it gives consumers access to a world where they would not likely go otherwise. It connects and inspires them to immerse themselves in new creative universe. While Gen Z may cherish vintage boots, or a bomber jacket from the Vietnam War passed down by their grandfather, they also cherish memorable and exotic experiences. The more memorable the experience, the more likely Gen Z’ers are to share it with their social spheres.”
In March of this year, Walmart made major investments in its newly created innovation hub, dubbed “Store No. 8”, where it will explore applications of augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence. “For Gen Z, the in-store experience is still integral to their relationship with brand, but retailers must figure out how to blend digital and virtual experiences with the physical world if they wish to capture Gen Z’ers attention and create connection to their brand,” DeYoung concludes.
Since VR creates a fully immersive three-dimensional experience that allows individuals to experience the impossible, young users may travel through the Ebola virus or studying paleontology in the Jurassic period.
Half of their brain is dedicated to visual processing, so intense visual stimulation like VR aids with information processing. With just a VR headset, educators can supplement student education by providing hands-on learning opportunities. While most VR equipment doesn’t come cheap as it is yet to be democratized (much like the journey of organic foods), there are a few affordable options already in the market: Google Cardboard and I Am Cardboard’s VR Cardboard Kit V2.0 are both under $25.