The consumer Augmented Reality (AR) market continues to grow both in applications and hardware, providing new opportunities to businesses and enhanced experiences to users. By 2023, the revenues from consumer software and content will reach more than US$8.5 billion while consumer AR smart glasses will reach 4 million-unit shipments by 2023. This is according to a recent report by ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.
“Greater mobile device capability and usage, more smart glass offerings, and the maturation of business strategies and developer ecosystems contribute to the strong outlook for consumer AR,” said Eleftheria Kouri, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “E-commerce, navigation, gaming, smart home, and remote assistants are promising applications that have captured the interest of users and enterprises alike. More and more businesses are investing in AR to differentiate their marketing proposition, provide proactive and personalized experiences, and improve their customer service. At the same time, customers are more engaged with AR apps for retail with more information and personalized support at their disposal.”
Bose, nreal, and DigiLens have shown consumer-oriented smart glass products. Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, has invested in DigiLens. Apple is also working on their AR hardware entrant to be launched in 2020. This activity, combined with an ever-growing mobile device based AR ecosystem, rounds out the hardware side for consumer AR. Compatibility with smartphones is one of the key features of consumer AR smart glasses, as they provide more flexibility to users in terms of voice command and hands-free access to mobile applications and portability options. Partnerships with developers and other third parties to deploy applications will add real value to users to balance the relatively high cost of the HMDs and provide more incentives and capabilities to consumers. For example, Epson’s collaboration with DJI drones or Vuzix’s integration of Amazon Alexa offers extra opportunities to users.
Mobile AR applications will continue to hold the most use cases in the consumer market as mobile devices and tablets are cost-efficient and user-friendly solutions while still providing quality results that meet current user expectations. In addition, the install base of devices and existing developers allow easier access for content creation and distribution across content types and end-user scenarios. Finally, experience already gained from enterprise AR use cases and hardware development is a great asset for the market as that experience and knowledge ultimately transfer to the consumer area.
“Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and technological advancements in mobile devices such as cameras, displays, and graphics, all in combination with 5G connectivity and mobile SDKs, will provide even more accurate and realistic AR capabilities. These, in turn, will increase the number of use cases and enrich content. Continuing partnerships between hardware, software, and use cases will broaden the market and cement use cases through expertise and resource sharing. Lack of content and high price are the primary barriers to consumer AR adoption today, and these barriers are lessening quickly,” concluded Eric Abbruzzese, Principal Analyst at ABI Research.
These findings are from ABI Research's Consumer Augmented Reality: Current State and Forecasts technology analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Augmented and Virtual Reality research service, which includes research, data, and Executive Foresights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Technology Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.
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