How Do Consumers Feel About Mobile AR? (new report)

This post is adapted from the latest report from ARtillry Insights, Mobile AR Usage & Consumer Attitudes. Preview more of the report or subscribe through VRARA

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How do consumers feel about mobile AR? Who’s using it? How often? And what do they want to see next? Perhaps more importantly, what are non-users’ reasons for disinterest? And how can app developers and anyone building mobile AR optimize product strategies accordingly?

These are the questions we set out to answer. Working closely with Thrive Analytics, ARtillry Intelligence wrote questions to be presented to more than 2000 U.S. adults in Thrive’s established consumer survey engine. And we’ve analyzed the findings in a narrative report.

This follows last month’s ARtillry Intelligence Briefing, which examined mobile AR app strategies and business models. Now, a deeper view into real consumer usage and attitudes  provides new dimension on mobile AR strategy development and opportunity spotting.

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Specifically, one third of consumers surveyed have used a mobile AR app. And those consumers appear active, with more than half reporting that they use mobile AR apps at least weekly. The top app category by far is gaming, which we attribute mostly to Pokémon Go.

Mobile AR users are also engaged, with 73 percent reporting satisfaction or high satisfaction. But beyond these and a few other positive signals, there are areas for improvement. For example, non-mobile AR users report low likelihood of adopting soon, and explicit disinterest.

The disparity between current-user satisfaction and non-user disinterest underscores a key challenge for XR: you have to “see it to believe it.” To reach high satisfaction levels, apps have to first be tried. This presents marketing and logistical challenges to push that first taste.

Put another way, AR’s highly visual and immersive format is a double-edged sword. It can create strong affinities and engagement levels. But the visceral nature of its experience can’t be communicated to prospective users with traditional marketing like ad copy or even video.

The same challenge was uncovered in our corresponding VR report last August (we’ll publish the second wave in Q3). This makes it a common challenge with immersive tech. It will take time and cost reductions before they reach a more meaningful share of the consumer public.

Meanwhile, there are strategies to accelerate that process, and to build AR apps that are compelling to consumers’ current standards. For example, social features can boost AR stickiness and network effect, which will be accelerated with multi-player support in ARkit.

There is of course a lot more to it, which we break down in the report. Meanwhile, this will continue to be a moving target and require lots of strategic precision and an informed position. Stay tuned for lots tidbits and survey results we’ll unpack in the coming weeks.

Preview more of the report or subscribe here

Mike Boland

Michael Boland is Chief Analyst and VP of Content for BIA/Kelsey, covering online and mobile media. Mike is a frequent speaker at top industry conferences such as BIA/Kelsey events, Search Engine Strategies, ad:tech, and WHERE 2.0. He has authored in-depth reports on the changing local media landscape including online video, social networking and mobile. He contributes regularly to highly read online news sources such as Business Insider and the Huffington Post. A trusted source for reporters covering the interactive media space, his comments have appeared in major news and trade media, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Forbes. Previously he was a San Francisco-based freelance writer for business and technology magazines, such as Red Herring, Business 2.0, and Mobile Magazine. Mike began his career in business analysis and journalism as a staff reporter for Forbes magazine, where he covered tech & media.