AR is set to become a much bigger focus in the coming years, with the big tech companies investing big in AR tools, and new devices like AR wearables set to hit the consumer market in the near future.
That will open up whole new possibilities in regards to marketing, communications, discovery, etc.
And Snapchat is also looking to be a key player in this next shift - as Snap notes:
"Now is the moment for Augmented Reality. Consumers are excited about it, and brands have a unique chance to boost engagement, elevate consumer experiences and increase revenues. Today, there are more than 100 million consumers shopping with AR online and in stores."
To get a better understanding of the potential for AR, Snapchat recently teamed with Deloitte Digital to interview over 15,000 consumers across 15 nations, in order to measure the top consumer AR trends, and what they might mean for the future of gaming, shopping, communication, media and entertainment, and more.
And there are some important insights of note - you can read Snapchat's full 'Consumer AR Global Report 2021' here, but in this post, we'll take a look at some of the key highlights.
First off, Snapchat notes that AR usage, based on current adoption trends, is set to become hugely influential over the next few years.
As per Snapchat:
"AR adoption is tracking with the mobile usage boom we saw in the mid 2000s: By 2025, nearly 75% of the global population and almost all smartphone users will be frequent AR users."
That underlines the significance of AR development. While it still feels like a way off, and it may not seem like the technology that we primarily use, right now, to add digital masks and dog's ears to our faces in video clips will eventually become a major influence over how we interact, in a huge range of ways, the data shows that it is indeed moving in that direction.
AR will eventually play a key role in how we do almost everything, in a connectivity sense. And that will be the next major shift for marketing.
In more specific terms, Snapchat's research shows that AR is already influencing people's shopping process, with more than 100 million people currently shopping through the use of AR-enabled processes.
The expanded potential of these tools, including virtual try-on options and digital product placement (like 3D visualizations for furniture) in the home, will build on this, making AR an even bigger consideration for more businesses over time.
That becomes even more significant when you also consider the rise of eCommerce, which has seen a significant boost as a result of the pandemic. Indeed, Snap's research also shows that more consumers are now finding value in AR as an assurance and demonstration tool.
Which adds another wrinkle to the growing use of AR for digital product promotions and display, again pointing to broadening utility, for many, many brands.
In essence, based on these trends, it's not hard to see AR becoming the essential add-on component for online shopping, which will then help to form habitual behaviors that leads to increased AR adoption in even more applications and processes.
As Snap notes:
"Consumers continuously expect more personalized and engaging experiences that enable them to interact with the world. The companies that embrace change can become dominant industry players – those that don’t, fall behind competitors …and sink."
And if you can't see the potential rising as yet, you soon will. Snapchat has also shared this timeline for the growth in AR adoption - going from 'Tech' to 'Toy' and eventually 'Totality', in regards to its expanded usage.
There is a heap of potential here, and Snapchat's AR report outlines it in an easy-to-follow way, with the added insight of consumer usage and interest rates to underline each point.
Again, it may not seem like AR will become an all encompassing tool, but the trend notes do point to this next stage, and when fully-functional AR glasses become available to consumers, that next shift will happen fast.
Best to get ahead of the game now, and ensure you're prepared.
You can read Snapchat's full, 74-page 'Consumer AR Global Report 2021' here.