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Robot sales increase by 200% on eBay in 2015

Participants’ reactions to technology captured at the eBay Innovation Lab, combined with eBay’s own data, have revealed that Christmas 2015 is set to be a high-tech one.

Results from the eBay Innovation Lab show that the biggest people pleaser amongst emerging technologies are robots, leading eBay to predict they will be one of the hottest gifts under the Christmas tree this year.

The eBay Innovation Lab researched Australians’ reactions to new technology such as holograms, robots, virtual reality and 3D printing, tracking them via gaze monitoring, dwell time and mobile questionnaires. The data was analysed by futurist Chris Riddell to predict rates of technology adoption across Australia, determining what will and won’t be welcomed into our homes in the future.

Chris Riddell, Futurist, comments: “The eBay Innovation Lab results sit hand in hand with the robotic automation movement that is happening right now, we are on the verge of a new era, our home and work lives are increasingly becoming infiltrated with gadgets and gizmos created to make our lives easier. The results point to a marked shift in what we expect from our machines. We’re still a long way from the ‘robot housemaid’ that I Robot author, Isaac Asimov predicted in his 1964 New York Times essay would be available by now. He also said “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence”.

“As we head into 2016 I’d have to argue he was wrong – robots are already here and they are much more useful. Automatic car washes, Vending Machines, ATMs, packing machines in factories, and automatic vacuum cleaners, they’re all robots. Driverless cars are literally around the corner and are going to become mainstream very soon too. They’re just machines, designed to perform a super valuable function and help us with everyday tasks. The reactions and interactions from the eBay Innovation Lab show us we’re not only ready for it, but we’re embracing the many ways these machines are taking shape”.

eBay has seen a 200% rise in robots bought over the last twelve months. The Wowee MiP, a robotic and interactive friend was the most interacted and engaged with product in the Innovation Lab experiment and spearheads the robot boom this Christmas.

Meg English, eBay Trendwatcher, commented; “This Christmas will be all about emerging technologies, with a strong push towards robots – we predict a big boom in time for December 25th. From Star Wars Spheros to Parrot robot drones – we’re expecting robot toys to feature heavily on the wish lists for almost everyone in the family no matter how old they are. We’ve also seen a surge in hoverboard sales as well as virtual reality headsets, so we can safely say this will be the most high tech Christmas ever.”

eBay predicts the following to be three of the top gifts for Christmas:

  1. Robots – eBay has seen a 200% rise in robots bought over the last twelve months
  2. Virtual Reality – eBay has a seen sales increase by 523% in the last twelve months
  3. Hoverboards – Australians are spending 800% more this year on hoverboards and electric scooters on

A rundown of the products featured in the eBay Innovation Lab in order of popularity with participants, based on the research analysis:

  1. WowWee MiP A new kind of robot friend. Equipped with GestureSense™ technology, any hand motion controls MiP. Using its free app, consumers can drive it, play games & more all while MiP balances on two wheels – its captured consumer’s imaginations and suggests robots are the next big tech boom in 2016.
  2. 3Doodler Remember glue pens? This is the 3.0 version. 3Doodler is a 3D printer pen that draws in the air and creates instant 3D objects. It’s compact and easy to use - simply switch it on and get going.
  3. 3D Printer 3D printers are set to completely disrupt the game across everything from medicine, to fashion, to food. Imagination and options are endless. Expect 3D printing to be more readily available towards the end of 2016.
  4. Bublcam The 360-degree-shooting Bublcam first appeared on Kickstarter way back in November 2013, with the aim of shipping in May the following year, but technical hitches saw the project repeatedly delayed. However, Bubl recently announced that the camera, which shoots VR-friendly spherical photos and videos, has now shipped to thousands of backers and pre-order customers.
  5. Samsung Gear VR Samsung’s Gear VR innovative virtual reality headset launches consumers into an immersive world that features a 360-degrees surround viewing experience. Used alongside the Galaxy S6 the technology provides lifelike, vivid images and a totally new way to experience content. It’s been a slow adoption curve but this is just the beginning and 2016 will see more brands harness the power of immersive theatre for consumers.
  6. MOSS Modrobotics Another Kickstarter success story – Moss Modrobotics received funding back in 2013.These simple and fun, build-your-own robot construction kits enable consumers to build their own robot army.
  7. Holho It may take a little more that the Holho to show the power of holograms to Australians – eBay predicts the power of holograms will start to surface in late 2016 – currently the vision for products like the Microsoft Hololens feels too abstract to be believed by Australians currently.