To say the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) markets are taking off would be an understatement. All it takes is a quick look at the numbers to see why.
Over the next five years, the augmented reality market is expected to top $157.21 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 28.71%. Demand has continued to mount and companies are further investing in AR technology. Retail and healthcare represent the two greatest beneficiaries of this growth, with a CAGR of 41.7% and 29.13% respectively.
For all that AR may have been regarded as a gimmick prior to the pandemic, businesses across multiple sectors now understand its value. This is most evident in retail — COVID-19 necessitated the closure of thousands of brick-and-mortar stores and accelerated the transition to fully online shopping. Faced with the question of how to virtually approximate in-person shopping, businesses realized that not only was AR the answer, it also enabled an entirely new kind of hybrid shopping experience.
As such, even as the coronavirus appeared to loosen its stranglehold on the world, retailers continued to build on their AR investments. This translated to a year of healthy growth, in spite of a few high-profile blunder's in AR's sister market, virtual reality. At this moment, augmented reality is in a great place.
But what comes next? Given that we're right at the start of 2023, let's talk about where AR is going. Here are the top five trends that will define the augmented reality market this year.
In many ways, augmented reality and digital marketing are a match made in heaven. Today's consumers want to interact with brands that offer engaging, novel experiences. They demand a tailored, personalized customer experience.
AR allows brands to inject some much-needed interactivity into their outreach. More importantly, it does so in a way that puts the customer directly in the center of everything. Pokémon GO's meteoric 2016 rise to fame already showed marketing professionals what augmented reality could do.
But as we move into 2023, it seems like more of them are finally starting to pay attention.
Per a study published earlier this year, 75% of consumers believe augmented reality is the future of shopping and plan to continue using it at every available opportunity. This has created something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Customers that use AR when they shop online tend to be more engaged, more confident in their purchases and more willing to commit.
Even more interestingly, ⅔ of customers who made a purchase in which AR was involved did not return the product, and 96% indicated an interest in post-purchase AR experiences.
In the coming year, AR will become an essential part of online shopping, with virtually every brand adopting the technology to enable a better purchase experience. The most innovative businesses, however, will go far beyond simply enabling AR on their website. They'll implement the technology in-store as well, allowing shoppers to truly experience the best of both worlds.
There's a livestream for everything these days, from applying makeup to eating food. It should therefore come as little surprise to you that livestream shopping exists. Nor should you be shocked to learn that in 2023, we'll start to see it intersect with AR to great effect.
Imagine a livestream where viewers can see how a streamer's outfit would look on their own frame, or where they can view something like a makeup tutorial on their own face instead of an influencer's. It's a deeper level of engagement and interactivity than ever before. And it's also only the tip of the iceberg.
There are many ways in which artificial intelligence is overhyped, such as the notion that it might one day replace human workers entirely. It is and always will be a tool for enablement — a means of augmenting human intelligence and empowering human personnel. In that way, AI represents an ideal match for AR.
To some extent, the two technologies have already been married for almost as long as either of them have existed. How else would Snapchat filters be capable of recognizing a person's face, or virtual try-on understand the difference between your wrist and a nearby foot stool? In 2023, however, the relationship between the two technologies will deepen in some new, incredibly exciting ways.
These are obviously just a few examples, but they all point to one thing above all. Augmented reality is a true game changer, and not just for retail.
AR has always needed to be mobile-friendly, at least in retail. But in 2023, there's a good chance we'll see it transition from mobile-friendly to mobile first. Cross-platform AR software is becoming progressively more common, while web-based apps have always had a strong foothold in the consumer AR space.
Innovations from both Google and Apple (Geospatial API and ARKit 6, respectively) already stand to make AR-focused application development easier than ever. And given that by the end of 2023, there will be a predicted 1.4 billion mobile AR user devices worldwide, it's likely that this year will mark the beginning of a new surge in AR software.
The AR sector is growing at a breakneck pace, and it shows no signs of stopping. Your brand needs to be prepared to embrace AR technology — because we can guarantee that your competitors will be.
Equip your e-commerce website with Tangiblee today, and you'll be ready to keep pace with changing consumer shopping behavior and trends.