The past year has seen the Augmented Reality market continue its incredible rise towards becoming mainstream technology. The potential for AR is becoming more and more apparent, and its uses are therefore reaching further and further into the consumer market. The likes of Google’s AR-enabled Maps update and even apps such as the ubiquitous Pokémon Go suggest that many an end user isn’t always even aware that they’re using AR; it has simply become a part of everyday life.
If the stats are anything to go by, we’ll all be firmly using AR in the months and years to come.
2020 will see 1 billion augmented reality users
If anything was to say that AR is a gimmick, the projection of one billion AR users from 37.5 million in 2017 says otherwise. Consumers are embracing this technology, with 53% of consumers stating they are interested in using augmented reality in the next three months.
The early adopters pushing the boundaries of AR will undoubtedly capture new markets and continue to reach new clients in years to come.
Build it and they will come
With AR already functional across all devices, phones and tablets, IOS and Android, it is already becoming mainstream. With the hot topic of AR glasses becoming the next must purchase in 2020, up and coming start-up Leap Motion have recently designed an augmented reality headset, which has the potential to deliver AR functionality. With a cost thought to be around $100, their headset makes AR much more accessible and affordable to the consumer, as opposed to those using equipment such as the Microsoft Hololens, which retails between $3,000 and $5,000
It has to be said, however, that many people are, of course, using AR without even realising it. Apps such as Facebook’s Camera Effects and Snapchat’s Snap Camera and Lens tools are adding a touch of augmented reality into our lives on a daily basis. Not to mention our own AR platform, SAR, which combines printed communications with the power of augmented reality.
Tech giants are battling for AR companies
When tech giants such as Facebook are buying up AR companies, you know that the technology is going to be big business in the coming years. Facebook are actually one of the biggest investors in augmented reality, having acquired 11 AR/ VR companies in recent years with Google and Apple not far behind.
Of course this means that these companies recognise how this type of technology can enhance their current offering, a subject we recently discussed at the IPIA’s Autumn Conference, where Sure’s Tim Moscow gave a keynote speech on how Sure has evolved over the past year, and how our new innovations have brought significant benefits to our clients and their marketing campaigns.
The love for AR starts early
In terms of demographics, most users of AR tend to fall into the 16 – 34 age group, useful for anyone trying to tap into the gen z/millennial market. A prime example of this is the welcome pack we recently created for the University of East London. The university was looking to enhance their printed communications, and the use of our AR platform, SAR, was the perfect way to do this.
It was an innovative way of bringing a welcome letter to life, adding interactive elements into the mix and driving traffic towards the UEL website and social feeds. In fact, the 38,000 interactions across the 3,000 students who received the letter shows that the letter engaged and re-engaged students a staggering 12 times each on average. AR is, therefore, perfect for reaching those demographics who enjoy the interactivity we can offer when combined with print.
The AR market is expected to be worth over $198 billion by 2025
AR is big business. And with 32% of consumers using augmented reality already, the potential to drive a company’s bottom line is huge. It’s also going to be big business in the retail sector, with nearly 50% of customers more likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented or virtual reality (BRP).
AR + ads = engagement
According to Vibrant Media, 67% of executives in advertising agencies say they look forward to using AR more. And with mobile AR ad revenue expected to exceed $2 billion by 2022, we’ll be seeing the AR effect on our screens a whole lot more.
Most of that ad revenue is predicted to come from digital formats but that’s not to say it can’t be used in other marketing formats. When one of the UK’s leading publishers, Earth Island recently used Sure’s Augmented Reality solution (SAR) for the front cover of an issue of Print Solutions magazine, we were able to seamlessly blend the traditional medium of print with digital marketing solutions through AR. And this is the beauty of AR; it allows you to blend a variety of worlds in ways which weren’t previously possible, opening up a whole new world for brands to get their message across, that engages and inspires their customers with a new experience which then connects the two and brings customer acquisition and retention.
It’s easy to see why Augmented Reality is such big business, and why it’s growing exponentially. It can illustrate ideas and possibilities in ways never seen before, and engage audiences on a far greater level. With the use of AR in the print industry, we believe and are excited for a future which mixes the two mediums to give the end user the best of all worlds, virtual and otherwise.