eBay launched a new research project in Australia called the eBay Innovation Lab to help it explore emerging technologies. The lab set up shop in Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia over the weekend and invited people to interact with emerging technologies.
eBay measured people’s reactions to holograms, virtual reality, 3D printing and robotics using gaze monitoring, dwell time and mobile questionnaires. eBay will analyze the data “to predict rates of adoption across Australia, determining what will and won’t be welcomed into our homes in the future,” eBay said.
“When we started at eBay there was no such thing as a smart phone, but just last year more than $28 billion worth of goods were sold via mobile on eBay globally,” eBay said in a press release announcing the initiative. “The Fitbit was one of the top selling gifts on eBay last Christmas, but if you’d asked people 12 months before if they wanted to count their steps – they’d have said “no way!””
Among the products featured within the Innovation Lab were the following: WowWee MIP; MOSS Modrobotics; 3Doodler; 3D Body Scanner / Printer; Bublcam; Self-Balancing Board; Samsung Gear VR; Holho; and the Double by Double Robot.
In June, eBay had released a report that showed over 50% of shoppers who shopped on eBay last year made a purchase in the technology category and over 100 million searches for electronics and gadgets were performed. It predicted 2015 would be the year of the wearable and revealed that eBay had eight of the top ten Australian electronic retailers on the site.
eBay didn’t explain how it would use the data gathered at the Innovation Lab. eBay is working with futurist Chris Riddell, who said there were a number of questions left to be answered around new technology – “will we embrace drones as pets? Will 3D printing take personalisation to an unrecognisable level?””
Nevertheless, the event was clearly a success in terms of publicity for the marketplace, with lots of media coverage and social media attention.