Augmented Reality is becoming increasingly popular as technology becomes more accessible and easier to use. AR users are estimated to rise from 500 million to 810 million between 2020 and 2021. It is estimated that 1.1 billion people will use AR on their phones alone by the end of this year.
Some of this increase is due to the after-effects of the pandemic, which caused a global shift online and forced businesses to innovate to stay relevant.
As a result, more companies have invested in AR technology. We can see trends emerging; here are five that we believe will be important.
1- AR NFTs & The Metaverse
Some NFTs incorporate augmented reality elements, creating an immersive experience for the user and allowing them to see an object on their body, for example.
In 2021, many brands began experimenting with NFTs; Nike launched limited edition sneakers, and many auction houses included digital artwork and apps that released in-game items, to name a few instances.
Luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana released Collezione Genesi, an AR-based wearable NFT collection that generated almost $6 million in sales. Some items were physical and came with a virtual counterpart, but others were only available in the digital space.
All of this activity points to the conclusion that, as the metaverse comes closer to reality, more and more brands will launch NFTs to fit inside that world.
2- AR in Healthcare
The advance in AR suggests that health services and quality of life can be improved by its implementation in that field.
The decreased close contact between patients and medical professionals means AR has a perfect space to fill in. Today, the spread of telesurgery applications to improve patient support is possible thanks to AR.
AR also educates patients and staff, simulating surgeries and diseases to enhance treatments.
3- AR on Self-Service E-commerce Platforms
AR is not only the playground of big nosiness. Even smaller businesses on eCommerce platforms like Shopify can create AR product previews. Shopify introduced an AR feature in 2018 and has recently started to push further into AR integration.
Through its marketplace of 3D modeling partners, a 3D Warehouse app for storing 3D models, and a simplified method of adding AR Quick Look to support merchant stores, Shopify makes AR accessible to even minor merchants.
They are not the only ones. Platforms like Etsy, WooCommerce, and Magento are also moving in the same direction.
4- AR “Phygital” Retail
As retailers try to entice shoppers into their stores, they must reconsider the in-store shopping experience.
A recent study by Snapchat found that roughly 20% of customers would go out of their way to visit a store with smart mirrors and interactive screens showing how a particular item will look on them. The younger the age group, the higher the percentage willing to try this.
Smart mirrors perfectly illustrate merging physical and digital retail as a “phygital” experience. One side-effect of the pandemic is the reluctance of shoppers to try on items or use make-up samples in the store. As brands look for ways to make people feel safe, smart mirrors are one way to innovate the shopping experience.
5- AR in Education
Even before the advent of AR, the current education system has been criticized for its theory-heavy approach.
AR provides a more interactive solution and allows children to use their imagination. Children enjoy learning new experiences and connecting with technology. AR can motivate them to learn and make classes more entertaining and engaging.
There are plenty more trends that AR will give rise to, but these are just a few to keep your eye on!