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Could virtual mirrors shape the way we shop?

Trying on numerous items of clothing can make for a tedious shopping experience, but virtual mirrors could help put a stop to that

The global virtual mirror market was projected to grow from $6.12 billion in 2021 to $7.66 billion in 2022. This was at a compound annual growth rate of 25.1%. The virtual mirror market is now expected to grow to $18.02 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 23.9% according to the Virtual Mirror Global Market Report.

Most of us have experienced going shopping for a new outfit but not having the desire to spend the day physically trying on clothes, right? I know I have. This then tends to result in three options. Lucky number one, you get home and it fits like a glove. Alternatively, you don’t bother buying anything at all and rummage around in your existing wardrobe. Or third, you finally manage to buy something new, but when you get home and try it on it either doesn’t fit, or you absolutely hate it now it’s actually on you rather than a hanger in the store.

Well, this issue could increasingly become a thing of the past thanks to virtual mirrors. These mirrors are used in retail stores for customers to try on potential purchases through their virtual avatars. Huge Boss launched a Reactive Reality mirror that uses AR software to give shoppers a virtual retail experience. Some mirrors use avatars to try on items. However, others such as the Assist Me virtual mirror allow you to stand as though it was truly a mirror and swipe to apply different items of clothing.

Virtual mirrors to change how we shop?

Not only does this technology enable the customer to see how the outfit would look, but through the use of motion rendering they can also see the item in various motions and lighting conditions. Meaning that the customer can get a better idea of how the item will truly look from all angles rather than just assuming it looks good because they have seen it plastered over the front of their bodies.

Let’s take a trip to the future and the potential of virtual mirrors. Not only does the fast fashion market often create dangerous workplace conditions but it’s also extremely harmful to our planet. As more clothing is being manufactured the industry accounts for more than 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Now imagine a future where our physical stores don’t have to be fully stocked full of clothing. AR shopping could be used to cycle through various items, even one ‘real’ version of each size could be manufactured. This item could then be tried on virtually by the customer. Once the customer is happy with the item, they can request a purchase of the real thing. These still need to be manufactured, but it would help limit the masses of clothing being produced every single day.

Back to reality

Let’s slide back into the present day. It’s clear there’s potential for these virtual mirrors. We are already seeing augmented reality being used with the likes of Snapchat. They partnered with Amazon to allow customers to try on sunglasses. IKEA has an AR ‘try before you buy’ experience that allows you to virtually place furnishings in your real rooms.

An increase in online shopping activity is a key contributor to the expected growth of the virtual mirror market. Going out to the shops for some will always be the best way to shop. Yet for many being able to shop online is more convenient and sometimes cheaper. One main issue with clothes shopping online is the inability to see how an item looks on you, but with the power of a virtual mirror on a mobile phone, a potential buyer could gain a much better view of how an item would look on them.

Of course, the technology isn’t perfect and a customer could buy an item they tried on virtually and still hate it once they’re actually wearing it but with trends pointing toward a booming online shopping market and a bigger reliance on technology, it’s likely we’ll start to see more clothing branches offering virtual mirrors.

Written By

Paige Cook is a writer with a multi-media background. She has experience covering video games and technology and also has freelance experience in video editing, graphic design, and photography. Paige is a massive fan of the movie industry and loves a good TV show, if she is not watching something interesting then she's probably playing video games or buried in a good book. Her latest addiction is virtual photography and currently spends far too much time taking pretty pictures in games rather than actually finishing them.

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