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AR Goes Mainstream

Laura Helm / 6 months ago
A seismic shift in consumer behaviour 

Having worked in immersive technology for a few years now,  I can feel the beginning of a seismic shift in consumer behaviour. The conversations I have been having with brands and businesses over the last few months have been less push and more pull. People get it, love it and want more.

Gone are the conversations of previous years, ‘Virtual Reality, tried it, made me feel sick!’ and now I’m hearing people (still in relatively small numbers however) talk about how FitXR has revolutionised their fitness routine, or about how they did ‘this thing on an app’ to help decide what colour to paint their walls or whether to buy that bookcase (otherwise known as Augmented Reality (AR)).

The technology is more accessible and the CX is improving. People are using AR and Virtual Reality (VR) to have fun, be entertained, and perhaps what’s driving the biggest shift, they are finding the technology useful!

Whilst people may not talk about it in tech terms, AR, VR, XR, 3D, MR (have I missed any?)  when the technology is matched with the right use case it's a win-win situation.

I love a good stat and two recent reports by two big players heavily invested in immersive technologies are full of them, providing helpful data on growing consumer adoption for AR and VR. Both reports provide interesting proof points that AR is going to be mainstream soon (or perhaps it already is). As Facebook states, “If you got a smartphone, you’ve got AR” and Snap predicts that “by 2025 nearly 74% of the global population and almost all smartphone users will be frequent AR users” - that’s huge!!

We’ve collated some of the juiciest stats below for the TLDR audience:

  • 74% of people surveyed said they see technology like AR as a way to bridge the online and offline worlds
  • 44% of people surveyed said they tried AR for the first time since the pandemic started
  • 75% of business leaders anticipate using AR or VR by 2023
  • 6x increase in global spending on AR and VR predicted between 2020 and 2024
  • Searches for AR and VR related content on Facebook grew by 44%
  • Membership of groups related to AR and VR on Facebook grew by 74%
  • People messaging sellers on Facebook marketplace about AR and VR listing grew by 75% year on year
  • 78% of people say AR is a fun way to interact with brands

Source: Hello Future AR/VR: New Dimensions of Connection

  • More than 200 million people engage with AR on Snapchat every day on average
  • 65% of AR consumers around the world and across generations use AR to have fun: the majority are discovering AR through social/communication apps
  • AR is generally seen as a toy but 76% of people expect and desire to use it as a practical ‘tool’ in their everyday lives
  • Interacting with products that have AR experiences leads to a 94% higher conversion rate
  • Spoiler alert; Gen Z/Millennials are 71% more likely to use AR all the time vs. older generations
  • There are 100m consumers shopping with AR online and in-stores

Source: Snap Consumer AR Global Report 2021

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