By Tom Ffiske // 6 January 2021
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So far 2021 feels like the DLC of 2020, with a lootcrate of isolation that smells of sourdough bread... Happy new year?
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The Main Story
Let's talk about China/India and AR e-commerce. I've been reading up on global trends over the break, and I've had a few thoughts on where we should be looking for innovation in e-commerce. Historically we tend to focus on ourselves because it is much easier and closer to our hearts and home - which is fair, but can lead to stale arguments. 

Firstly, China is innovating much faster than Western counterparts (The Economist makes a great argument about this that is worth a read). Live events, integrating social messaging, and a bombastic feel to the launch of products - their consumers engage with their digitised audiences more than the USA and UK managing the slow decline of its retail space. 

The same goes for India, accelerating in activity. In the next decade India is expected to be the third largest spender, and their e-commerce penetration will be around 10 per cent by 2024. Companies are looking to serve a massive country with a complex web of habits. In response, Walmart's Flipkart purchased Scapic to help with its AR rollout. 

The key difference between China/India and the West is that there is still a lot of e-commerce competition in Asia, reinvigorating the necessity to innovate to draw in customers. Keep an eye, and learn from what companies like Jio and Flipkart are up to. 
Scapic is one to follow as well. Photo credit: Scapic
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Analysis of the top stories
Got a news story? Let me know at tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com.

Did you know? There was a VR NYE party so big that it crashed VRChat's servers. 
  • Why? Well there were two big events: one was the official New Year's Eve party, a 24-hours-long marathon featuring 24 electronic DJs; and the other one was Jean-Michel Jarre's concert inside Notre-Dame. My friend Tony helped out, and gives a great behind-the-scenes that is worth a read. 
  • On the one hand, a lot of people were locked in and couldn't see families. But on the other, it was a very big and cool party hosted on the platform. In any case, interest in virtual events is rising... 
Gravity Sketch will be free to compete with competitors. 
  • Makes sense. When you're fighting against the likes of Quill and Tilt Brush, the key is to build a thriving community of passionate people that want to share work. By offering a free option, the company hopes to bring more people into its ecosystem. 
  • If you're interested, pencil 25 January 2021 into your calendar. Don't worry, you'll be in a lockdown so I'm sure you have the time. 
Oculus never gives official numbers, but safe to say the Oculus Quest 2 sold well during Christmas. 
  • How do we know? Because the Oculus subreddit gained a fair few new subscribers, the Oculus app was number 7 in the top downloads of Christmas Day, and Google searches spiked up. 
  • One day Facebook will open the iron gates and give us lowly users some numbers. But for now, it'll be a back-of-the-hand Cluedo game to collate the clues.
Other stories
Time to boogy like the world isn't on fire. Photo credit: VRScout
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Currently on hold as the Immersive Wire is having conversations with potential sponsors. The segment will return soon! 

That's all for this week! Want to have a chat, let me know about a news story, or talk business? Either reply to this email, or contact tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com. Have an excellent day! 

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