Are mixed reality apps set to skyrocket?
Mixed reality apps will be the next big thing in consumer technology if a new study’s predictions are accurate, and that’s something retailers might want to keep an eye on.
Mixed reality apps have been installed by users an estimated 3 billion times at this point, according to a Juniper Research forecast, which predicts that the number will rise to 10 billion by 2024. The study defines mixed reality apps as those which map interactive digital content over the physical world on a device screen, like a smartphone, smart glasses or a headset.
Defined as such, mixed reality would include popular augmented reality apps like Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, as well as social media apps with real-time reality-overlay filters, like Snapchat.
Since the summer of 2016, when Pokemon Go-mania briefly swept the U.S., there has been speculation that augmented reality would be embraced at scale by consumers and become an invaluable resource for businesses, including brands and retailers.
As far back as 2017, some segments of the tech industry have been committed to the idea that AR and related technologies will become ubiquitous, with AR devices like smart glasses or headsets replacing the smartphone entirely.
In the next few years, we may reach the critical moment when it becomes clear if consumers will actually adopt smart glasses and/or other devices that immerse a user in mixed reality. Apple is planning the launch of a new combined AR/VR headset by 2021 or 2022, built around a new kind of 3-D sensor system and designed to facilitate both gaming and office/inter-office communication, according to Bloomberg. The following year, the brand plans to release a lightweight pair of AR-enabled glasses.
Even in its current smartphone-based incarnation, AR has proven successful for some retailers with specific types of promotions. 7-Eleven, for instance, has run a number of in-store promotions requiring participants to interact with AR in-store to win prizes. Nike and other tech-forward sneaker brands have leveraged AR for app-based shoe try-on. Sephora, L’Oreal and Ulta Beauty have used AR to allow customers to try virtual versions of different beauty products.
- Mixed-Reality App Installs Forecast To Hit 10 Billion By 2024 – MediaPost
- Apple Plans Standalone AR and VR Gaming Headset by 2022 and Glasses Later – Bloomberg
- Is Walmart’s innovation leader right that the AR revolution is a sure thing? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can retailers and brands use mixed reality apps to drive value and push conversions? Will we see the adoption of AR glasses/headsets on the level Apple and other tech giants expect, and how should retailers prepare?