When you think of AR, the very first thing that comes into mind for many people is the Snapchat dog face or a funny filter on Instagram. But AR is much more than just a fun gimmick to pimp photos. Take the retail industry, for example: digitally displaying products is not only super exciting for users, but also offers great added value for companies: Virtual try-outs mean fewer returns, less wasted resources, and greater efficiency. There is also a lot of interest from the customers: 84% of consumers are interested in using Augmented Reality to explore a product before they buy it, according to an Ispos study by Snap Inc.
So what's stopping us from actually integrating AR into everyday life? The same study reveals that 90% of companies consider AR primarily a nice add-on that merely serves to amuse. However, the picture is different among consumers: Only 57% share this opinion. The rest of the respondents consider Augmented Reality to be much more useful in everyday life.
Facts, facts, facts
The disagreement between companies and users is no exception: even within industries, the balance of interests is very uneven. The following fakes all come from the aforementioned 2022 Ispos study by Snap Inc. In the education and navigation sectors, over 80% of consumers expressed interest in AR. When companies were surveyed, only a little more than 1/4 of respondents indicated that they actually wanted to implement AR applications.
A similar picture emerges in the areas of entertainment, concerts and events. Here, about three-quarters of consumers are interested, whereas only about 40% of companies are interested in implementing this demand. AR offers countless new opportunities, especially for the entertainment industry: events can be virtually extended and can also involve viewers at home as if they were there. This year, for example, the world-famous music festival Coachella embellished the performance of the band 'Flume' with AR components that were only visible to the thousands of live streamers in front of the monitors. While the fans in California experienced a normal concert, the performance at home became a digital spectacle:
The potential is there, it just needs to be recognized. So where is the interest among companies? Brands are most likely to be interested in scanning product information, which is at 60%. But here, again, the positive mood of the consumers outweighs the companies: Thus, in contrast to the companies, 82% of the respondents are convinced. The added value also cannot be overlooked: With just one click, products are embellished with virtual gadgets that are not only fun, but also inform. Where does the product come from? How was it manufactured? What allergens does it contain? AR offers all this at a glance - without a long search.
AR brings similarly strong advantages when it comes to traveling and discovering the world. However, only 30% of the companies in this sector want to know about the smart technology. At 80%, the interest of customers is very high. After all, what could be more exciting than standing in front of the Statue of Liberty and watching her come to life as an AR avatar, telling stories about her trip to the USA, rather than just standing around lazily? Interactive travel routes are the keyword here.
The gap is similar when it comes to instructions with the help of AR. Here, 75% of customers and only 27% of companies are interested. But AR instructions and training are highly relevant for companies and industry. With the use of AR, instructions are displayed step-by-step for the user and the next step in the production process is visualized very simply. This is not only a great support for the training of new employees or onboarding, but also for the prevention of errors for existing employees.
The large parcel service provider DHL, for example, uses AR Glasses to make the work process as simple as possible. When wearing the glasses, the exact process is projected directly onto the employee's field of vision, while both hands remain free.
With or without a wearable - the use of Augmented Reality is one thing above all: efficient. Instructions for customers at home are also an interesting topic: Who hasn't stood in front of an IKEA shelf and wished it would assemble itself? With the use of an AR app, users can save themselves the trouble of scrolling through the instructions, the many unanswered questions in the process, or the never-ending search for the right screw. Thanks to smart object recognition, Augmented Reality can visualize each individual step and indicate which element needs to be linked and where. The technology also recognizes which screw the user is holding in his or her hand and can provide even more precise details about the exact procedure using multimedia add-ons such as videos or images - and bam, the shelf is assembled in just a few steps. Almost as if by itself 😉
Why companies are still hesitant
AR has become an important part of the shopping experience for consumers. According to the Ispos study by Snap Inc. mentioned above, 74% of users say that AR makes their shopping experience easier. AR doesn't just make the shopping experience better. Shopping is also one of the main reasons for many consumers to use AR. So what's the point?
As described above, one of the biggest reservations about AR is that it is only seen as a gimmick. The fact that Augmented Reality is much more than that is shown by the high level of customer interest.
Many companies do not yet have the necessary know-how about Augmented Reality, so they are reluctant to use it. The main obstacle is security concerns and the view that the technology is not yet fully developed. It is therefore important to inform and educate so that this no longer represents a hurdle for companies.
Another issue is budget. Augmented Reality is not a small cost. This is a challenge for smaller companies, which do not have a high marketing budget. Often, however, simple AR features are enough to enhance the product and you don't have to dig deep into your pocket.
A little push in the right direction would be enough
Most companies have already recognized that AR promotes awareness and helps to retain customers. Four out of five brands that use AR in shopping say it has helped them increase sales and attract new customers. Why is that? With AR, you stand out from the competition and promote brand awareness among consumers.
In summary, it can be said that the interest of consumers in AR solutions is more than there, but companies still need a little push to meet the customers desires.