Virtual Interactions 'As Good as Being There' for Nearly a Quarter of Online Consumers

NUREMBERG, Germany, February 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Internationally, 23 percent of online consumers say virtual interactions can be as good as being there in person. 

GfK has published findings from a 22-country survey showing that just under a quarter (23 percent) of online consumers agree[1] that virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person. This compares to just 15 percent who disagree[1].  

Opportunities for virtual interactions are increasingly common in daily life - whether its video-conferencing at work, 'face-timing' via a smartphone, instant text chat via Facebook or WhatsApp etc, or even exploring cities and venues such as restaurants or museums using Google Street view or 3D-Panorama. But are these interactions as good as being there in person?  

Agreement that virtual interactions can be as good as real life peaks with those aged 20-29 and 30-39, with 28 percent and 27 percent respectively agreeing. This puts them comfortably ahead of teenagers, who are the next most 'virtually minded' generation, at 22 percent.

Unsurprisingly, agreement falls off rapidly amongst older generations. One in five (20 percent) of 50-59 year olds disagree that virtual interactions can be as good as in-person contact, compared to just 15 percent voting the opposite way. And, for those aged 60 and over, almost a third (27 percent) disagree versus just one in ten (11 percent) who agree.

Brazil and Turkey are most 'vitually minded'; Germany and Sweden are least 

Brazil and Turkey top the list for online consumers who believe virtual interactions can be as good as being there in person, with a third (34 percent) in each country claiming this. They are followed by Mexico (28 percent), China (27 percent) and Russia (24 percent).

The other end of the scale is lead by Germany, with nearly a third (32 percent) of online consumers there disagreeing that virtual can be as good as in-person interactions. They are followed by Sweden at 29 percent, and then two 'tied' results: the Czech Republic and Belgium at just over a quarter (26 percent) and the Netherlands and UK at just under a quarter (23 percent).

These findings have applications for almost all businesses. Whether it's using augmented reality to enhance marketing and advertising or embracing video conferencing to bring down travel costs for meetings - knowing which markets and consumer segments are most open to virtual interactions is an essential starting point.

To download the full 22-country findings, visit

"Virtual interactions can be as good as being there in person"
Countries with highest Countries with highest
agreement (top 2 boxes) disagreement (bottom 2 boxes)
Brazil 34% Germany 32%
Turkey 34% Sweden 29%
Mexico 28% Czech Republic 26%
China 27% Belgium 26%
Russia 24% Netherlands 23%
USA 23% UK 23%
Source: GfK

[1]Top two / bottom two box responses from a 7-point scale where "1" means "disagree strongly" and "7" means "agree strongly"

Press contacts, Global PR

Amanda Martin 

Stefan Gerhardt 




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