The role of augmented reality technology in shopping is making a historic pivot.
Once considered a fun, quirky tool for consumers to employ for entertainment purposes — most commonly on social media apps like Snapchat — a new report by Snap Inc. and Publicis Media Exchange has found that AR is now a significant driver of purchases for products across markets.
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“Immersive customer experiences using AR are helping our advertisers sell more products, while driving more long-term customer value,” said Dave Roter, vice president of global agency partnerships at Snap Inc., in a statement.
According to Ark Invest, the total AR market was worth $1.2 billion by the end of 2021, across all use cases. This report estimates that number will increase to a projected value of $1.2 trillion by 2030, meaning AR will play a vital role in companies’ omnichannel approaches in the years to come.
In partnership with Alter Agents, Snap Inc. and PMX interviewed 4,028 consumers between the ages of 13 and 49 years old in the U.S., U.K., Saudi Arabia and France, who have used AR in shopping.
The study found that 80 percent of consumers feel more confident in their purchases after using AR features, and 66 percent of consumers are less likely to return an item after using AR.
The study also found that AR features such as advanced detection, product visualization and try-on features are more influential than non-AR features such as product reviews and videos, in driving purchase intent.
2021 data from Snap Inc.’s data demonstrates that 200 million people engage in AR every day using the Snapchat camera. With 37 percent of study participants reportedly having discovered AR shopping experiences via Snapchat, the platform is poised to fuel the adoption of shoppable AR among consumers.
Today, Snapchat reaches more than 600 million monthly active users and 332 million daily active users, up from 500 million and 280 million, respectively, last year. In January, the platform rolled out a feature that ties product catalogues to the app’s Shopping Lenses, which are filters that allow users to virtually try on and then purchase makeup, accessories clothing and more.
“We’re pretty widely known for really important things like vomiting rainbows and puppy dog ears,” said Jeremi Gorman, chief business officer at Snap Inc. in a 2021 interview with WWD. “But that has evolved entirely into what is now AR as a utility, and so many people here in this room are the people who pushed us toward that, in particular over the last 18 months when things like makeup try-on was really difficult, because the idea of putting on lipstick after somebody else’s lipstick got a little weirder.”
The study reported that 63 percent of beauty shoppers are less likely to return a product they used AR experiences to test out, and that 75 percent of consumers at large think AR is the future of shopping and will continue to use it when purchasing products across categories.