Augmented Reality has never been bigger and the trend is only growing in 2019.
From advertising to retail to travel, AR is increasingly becoming a powerful tool across industries and use cases, bringing benefits such as higher engagement, better user experience and increased revenues.
To really put the impact of AR into perspective, we have created this handy infographic. These key augmented reality statistics show just much potential AR has in terms of its reach, what we can expect to see from advertisers and how social media technology is evolving to accommodate AR.
Continue reading below for our analysis of these augmented reality statistics.
2019 Augmented Reality statistics
1. 3.5 billion mobile augmented reality users are projected by 2022 (source)
One of the most shocking augmented reality statistics we found is the sheer size of its user base.
Despite the common perception that AR is a novelty and that we are still in the early adoption phase, these numbers prove that AR adoption goes far beyond that, and that it’s only set to grow to a staggering 3.5 billion by 2022. That will equal more than 1/4th of the world’s population.
A curious occurrence is that some users are using AR in their daily life, without realising it. However, if you’ve tried games such as Pokémon Go or used Google Translate‘s Word Lens feature, you’ve been using AR.
Digi-Capital, the source of this stat, include Apple ARKit, Google ARCore, Facebook Camera Effects and Snap Lens Studio within the definition of ‘mobile AR’.
However, with the launch of AR for Instagram this summer, we can expect that number to increase considerably, as we predict that it will be an absolute game-changer.
2. Nine out of ten brands plan to use AR in their campaigns (source)
Adoption of AR by brands is still at a relatively early stage, but the majority are already considering it. However, the range of AR campaigns is still quite wide, with some being far more integrated within marketing strategies than others.
At this stage, a great majority of AR campaigns by brands are advertising-focused. These are commonly face filters that are shared and promoted on social media.
However, many brands are already moving forward with more experimental and exciting use cases, notably in the retail industry. Here, utility-focused use cases such as virtual try-on are taking the industry by storm, and we can expect them to become industry standards.
The really interesting thing about these kinds of campaigns is that brands aren’t exclusively looking for conversions. AR is all about engagement and word-of-mouth, as by nature AR content is highly shareable. Companies that adopt AR are also being perceived as cutting-edge and fun, all of which is helping to improve brand perception.
However, some of the more complex AR use cases are driving increased sales. Most notably, virtual try-on is a great tool to drive sales, because it allows users to try face filters on social media that are not only fun, but which also help them visualise a product on their face. This might lead to a purchase of a product they wouldn’t have considered had they not engaged with the AR content.
3. $2.4 billion AR ad spend resulting in $15 billion revenue are projected by 2022 (sources 1 and 2)
Projections for total ad spend from AR social lenses are at $2.4 billion by 2022. This refers exclusively to lenses on social media networks such as Snapchat and Facebook.
AR ads function in a very similar way as regular social media ads. You can think about AR as the next iteration of video ads in terms of engagement. The main distinction is that AR content is proving to be far more engaging and users are sharing it more.
The reason for this is that AR lenses are inherently things that you share. That is the whole point of them and of how people use them; users will share your AR content because it is fun and they like it. So the best you can do when creating your own AR ad campaign is to focus on high quality AR content.
Of course, this begs the question; are users really going to engage with your brand, or just with your social lense?
Judging from projections, spend on social lense ads will lead to very real and very large revenues: $15 billion by 2022, to be exact. (As an aside, it is worth noting again that these figures are likely to be higher with the imminent arrival of Instagram AR).
The magical alchemy that transforms engagement into revenue is not easy to pin down to a single reason. It is a combination of brand recognition, trust and innovative use cases. But one thing is clear: it works.
4. 70% of Snapchat’s 186 million daily users activate AR lenses daily (source)
There is a common perception that Snapchat is “just a Gen Z platform”. But the numbers say otherwise.
It is true that Snapchat is most popular among users under 30 (with a staggering 69% of people between 18 and 29 using the platform). However, use of the platform is still very high among older age groups, with 26% of 30-to-49-year-olds using the platform. If you compare that to Twitter usage from the same age group, the figure is roughly about the same.
Out of Snapchat’s daily user base of 186 million, 70% activate AR lenses daily. This means that 130 million people are currently actively using AR on Snapchat.
Moreover, Snapchat recently announced a brand new feature called Scan. This could have an immense impact on the way brands use Snapchat, the kind of content they produce and, ultimately, Snapchat’s overall user base from all age groups.
Scan will allow brands to create new types of AR experiences beyond face filters, using Snapchat’s camera. Users will be able to scan products and shop for them online, solve math problems and much more.
This visual scanning technology will undoubtedly have an impact across industries and use cases, and we are only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg as far as how Snapchat is going to be used by brands.
5. Instagram will be a game changer (source)
We have already written at length about how big an impact we expect Instagram to have on the AR landscape, but it is worth repeating.
Instagram is going to be huge.
What’s most remarkable about Instagram opening AR up to brands is not the kind of content that they will be able to create. Mostly this will still consist of face filters.
The reason Instagram is so pivotal in AR adoption is two-fold: its unmatched ability to drive brand engagement and the sheer size of its user base.
This is shown by remarkable statistics such as that 80% of users already follow a brand on Instagram and that one out of 3 of the most viewed Instagram Stories are branded content. Cleary, users want to engage with brands on Instagram and are getting benefits out of that relationship.
Moreover, the Instagram user base is massive. Currently it stands at 1 billion monthly active users. That is a mind-boggling number of users and it is only growing.
These two elements in combination make for a very fertile ground for AR-driven brand engagement, and we can expect ad spend and revenues to increase accordingly.
In a nutshell, the numbers don’t lie: the only way is up from here for augmented reality, as the trend continues to grow exponentially over the next few years.