Augmented Reality (AR) – Thematic Research
All the vital news, analysis, and commentary curated by our industry experts.
The AR market was worth $7 billion in 2020 and is forecast to record growth of more than 35% during the forecast period. The number of emerging use cases reflects AR’s growing maturity and, as such, AR smart glasses could potentially replace smartphones in the long run. AR will also play an essential role in the metaverse – an emerging mega-theme in which Big Tech is increasingly investing.
COVID-19 has fueled enterprise adoption of AR across sectors such as healthcare, law enforcement, and manufacturing, mainly for remote collaboration. Businesses will continue to adopt AR in the coming years, but the high cost of headsets and smart glasses will be a barrier to widespread adoption in the short term. However, by 2030, enterprises will account for the largest share of the AR market by revenue.
Overview of the augmented reality (AR) market
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AR is a technology that allows the user to see the real world overlaid with digital data. AR is evolving into a utility in specific consumer and enterprise applications. On the consumer front, AR is primarily used in social media, gaming, and e-commerce. While Pokémon Go and Snapchat Lenses have helped popularize AR as a tool for entertainment, ecommerce is using it as a utility. In addition, upcoming metaverse platforms will integrate AR-related technologies, helping to bring AR to the fore.
The businesses will continue to adopt AR in the coming years, but the high cost of headsets and smart glasses will be a barrier to widespread adoption in the short term.
What are the main trends shaping the AR theme over the next 12 to 24 months?
The metaverse is a virtual world where users share experiences and interact in real-time within simulated scenarios. Metaverse developers will increasingly focus on AR, thanks to AR’s ability to allow the user to see the real world overlaid with a layer of digital content. AR-related technologies such as SLAM, facial recognition, and motion tracking will be vital for developing metaverse-based use cases.
Mobile AR refers to AR functionalities accessible via apps on mobile devices, particularly smartphones. The existing smartphone ecosystem, consumer comfort with smartphones, and the improving computing capabilities of these devices are major drivers of mobile AR. The lack of self-contained, affordable, and compelling AR-specific hardware also benefits mobile AR. According to ARtillery Intelligence, much of the AR compatibility in the smartphone landscape happens outside of the traditional iOS and Android ecosystems, thanks to social media platforms that support AR.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled the adoption of AR amongst enterprises and consumers. For example, doctors are using Vuzix’s M400 smart glasses for training and conducting patient rounds remotely, while AR-based virtual try-on is emerging as a common use case in retail. Several major cosmetics and apparel brands allowed consumers unable to visit stores due to lockdowns to try out products at home. AR is also being used for remote collaboration (e.g., Zoom) and edtech (Mondly). Post pandemic, the adoption of AR will grow further as the technology matures and new use cases emerge for consumers and enterprises. The dearth of AR content is one of the biggest obstacles to the mass adoption of AR platforms.
Growing awareness of the need to protect user data has led to the introduction of data privacy regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Data privacy regulators in the EU, Japan, and India have adopted an extraterritorial approach, forcing companies to process user data locally, regardless of where the companies themselves are headquartered. The regulations also mandate companies to have transparent privacy policies that stipulate the purpose and use of user-generated data. In addition, companies must equip users with features to request, access, correct, and suspend their data from privacy centers. We expect the policies to be further refined based on applications, and companies will have to adhere to new mandates.
Most major social media services allow users to add AR features to their content. Facebook has made AR features available on Instagram and Messenger. In June 2021, it announced plans to roll out Instagram’s AR-based shops feature to WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace, offering users the ability to virtually try on products before making a purchase. In July 2021, Snap partnered with Rakuten to incorporate AR lenses in the Viber social messaging app. Tencent has also integrated AR in WeChat’s mini-programs, enabling AR-based gaming, shopping, virtual try-ons, and real estate inquiries.
What are the platform classifications in the AR market?
AR software accounted for the largest share of the total global AR market in 2020, with the remaining coming from the sale of hardware such as smart glasses and headsets. AR software will continue to dominate the market as novel, immersive content and use cases are developed for smartphones, AR smart glasses, and AR headsets. Steady investments by enterprises into task-specific solutions (e.g., remote collaboration, training, maintenance, and customer support) will drive the growth of the enterprise AR software market. The benefits, including increased employee productivity and reduction in service resolution time, will boost the adoption of AR software.
The launch of new AR smart glasses and headsets during the forecast period will increase AR hardware’s revenue share. This is attributable to the high price of AR headsets, especially those targeted at enterprises, compared to AR smart glasses. AR is a key technology in the future of work and, as such, will be a focus area for enterprises in the coming years, which will drive demand for AR hardware. The consumer AR hardware market is likely to gain pace following the expected launch of Apple and Facebook’s AR smart glasses in either 2022 or 2023.
AR market, by platform
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Who are the leading players in the AR market?
Technology companies of all sizes are battling for a share of the AR market. Tech giants are focusing on the development of AR smart glasses and AR headsets, which could potentially replace smartphones to become the next major computing device. Google and Microsoft are dominant in AR smart glasses and AR headsets, respectively. Other leading players include are Seiko Epson, Rokid, ThirdEye, Vuzix, RealWear, Varjo, Lenovo, and Magic Leap.
Market report scope
Market size (Year – 2020)
|Base year for estimation||2020|
|Key Platforms||AR software and AR hardware|
|Key Players||Google, Microsoft, Seiko Epson, Rokid, ThirdEye, Vuzix, RealWear, Varjo, Lenovo and Magic Leap|
- This report provides an overview of the augmented reality theme.
- It identifies the key trends impacting the growth of the theme over the next 12 to 24 months, split into four categories: technology trends, macroeconomic trends, regulatory trends, and media trends.
- It includes comprehensive industry analysis, including forecasts for augmented reality revenues to 2030. These forecasts are split by end-user (consumer and enterprise) and platform (hardware and software). There is also market share information for the AR smart glasses and AR headsets markets.
- It contains details of M&A deals driven by the augmented reality theme, and a timeline highlighting milestones in the development of augmented reality.
- The detailed value chain shows comprise five segments: semiconductors, components, devices, platforms, and applications and content. Leading and challenging vendors are identified across all five segments.
Reasons to Buy
- AR is still developing as a technology but is beginning to move into the mainstream.
- Leading tech companies are scrambling to build sustainable AR ecosystems and gain a foothold in this potentially lucrative market, while specialist firms focus on areas like content development.
- This report tells you the need to know about AR, including market forecasts to 2030 and profiles of the leading companies.
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Table of Contents
Frequently asked questions
What is the AR market output value in 2020?
The AR market was found to be worth $7 billion in the year 2020.
What is the AR market growth rate?
The AR market is forecast to record growth of more than 35% during the forecast period (2021-2030).
What are the key platforms in the AR market?
Key sectors in the AR market include AR software and AR hardware.
Who are the key end-users in the AR market?
Consumer and enterprise are the key end-users in the AR market.
Who are the leading players in the AR market?
Google and Microsoft are dominant in AR smart glasses and AR headsets, respectively. Other leading players include Seiko Epson, Rokid, ThirdEye, Vuzix, RealWear, Varjo, Lenovo, and Magic Leap.
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