Augmented Reality Enters the Mainstream

Augmented reality (AR), the mixing of virtual objects with the real world, exploded in popularity over the past five years, going from science fiction to something used by over 1B people in 2018. The July 2016 launch of Pokémon GO was a watershed moment for AR and introduced millions to the technology. Meanwhile, the steady growth of social apps like Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok has further expanded the reach of AR thanks to features like selfie filters (e.g., making users look like a dog).

AR has gone from being a fun diversion to a core element in a wider range of apps. Google Maps and Amazon both have AR features to enhance the user experience.

It is becoming essential for brands to have an AR strategy since using it is becoming second-nature to mainstream audiences. Users tend to be affluent and tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zers. Brands who ignore AR risk falling behind competitors who take advantage of a technology that is capturing imaginations.

Findings in the market brief include:

  • AR is synonymous with sharing selfies on social media, and 3 in 5 (63%) AR users regularly utilize effects that alter their appearance or the appearance of others.
  • AR advertising has ample room for growth, as only 2 in 5 users regularly see branded AR content.
  • AR users earn an average annual income of $63K and 68% of the audience is under the age of 35.


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