‘Don’t miss out on AR,’ report warns retailers

Retailers risk getting left behind and disappointing customers if they don’t adopt Augmented Reality (AR), new research has found.

A report by UK-based computer vision and machine learning company DigitalBridge revealed that almost three-quarters of consumers (69 per cent) now expected retailers to launch an AR app within the next six months.

One-in-five expected retailers to have already come up with a usable AR experience prior to the launch of ARkit (pictured), while nearly half (49 per cent) anticipated a rise in the number of applications within the next six months.

A further 18 per cent of respondents said they didn’t expect to be kept waiting for longer than 12 months before being offered access to an AR platform and 82 per cent expected the technology to be made available via mobile, rather than as an in-store experience.

The recent launch of ARkit by Apple, which allows developers to build high-quality AR experiences for iPhone and iPad users, and the news that Google is set to launch its ARcore for Android users, is making the technology more mainstream.

The survey found that AR has become a sought-after technology, with 61 per cent of consumers saying this was the technology that they were most excited about. This compared with 30 per cent who thought that Virtual Reality (VR) should take priority in the consumer market, while the remaining nine per cent believed that artificial intelligence, such as chat bots, would be most beneficial.

David Levine, chief executive of DigitalBridge, said: “Augmented reality hasn’t really caught the public’s attention as much as virtual reality, thanks to its popularity in the gaming and leisure industry. However, Apple’s focus on this immersive technology and its forthcoming battle with Google (and others) has really turned the focus on its head and augmented reality is having its first mainstream moment.

“As a business and commerce application, particularly when it comes to mobile commerce, augmented reality has much more potential than virtual reality, as it’s easier and cheaper to implement and I think we’re going to see a new ecosystem of AR-enabled experiences in the coming weeks and months.”