What's the State of AR Commerce? (New Report)

This post is adapted from ARtillery Intelligence’s latest report. To access the report and full XR intelligence library, subscribe here (VRARA members receive a discount).

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There are several forms of monetization that will develop for augmented reality (AR). In past reports, we’ve examined opportunities for its role in advertising (consumer-facing) and industrial productivity (enterprise-facing). The ROI case continues to strengthen in these and other areas.

One particularly promising area will be AR's role in influencing and fulfilling consumer purchases. Extending from (but different than) AR advertising, AR commerce involves graphical overlays that inform consumers and demonstrate product attributes in physical retail or e-commerce contexts.

For example, AR-pioneering retailers like Walmart let consumers activate product details in store aisles by pointing their smartphones at those items. Employing computer vision and object recognition from product databases, this empowers shoppers and breeds customer loyalty.

Tech giants like Google and Amazon have done similar. By pointing your phone at items in the real world, informational overlays can be triggered to contextualize items. Moreover, transactional calls to action are included to capture consumers’ wallets during these high-intent visual searches.

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This makes AR commerce a key part of the future of these tech giants’ user experiences – mapping closely to their core businesses like search and e-commerce. It therefore holds lots of priority and investment – both of which will accelerate this sub-sector of AR in the near term.

Beyond visual search (pointing your phone at items to contextualize or buy), AR commerce can work in the reverse manner. In other words, “product visualization” is a key AR commerce modality in which consumers digitally place 3D product mockups in their surroundings to see how/if they fit.

As you can imagine, this use case maps particularly well to home goods, or large and bulky items that require a more informed purchase in terms of fit and style. For that reason, furniture players like Wayfair and IKEA have invested in such AR features, as have auto manufacturers like BMW.

Add all of these factors together and AR commerce will be one of the most tangible and revenue-generating “flavors” of AR in the near term. ARtillery Intelligence projects that $6.1 billion in annual transaction value (value of goods purchased) will flow through AR interfaces by 2022.

Beyond near-term benefits and monetization, mobile AR commerce developments will serve a longer-term end: AR glasses. The tactics, business models and consumer acclimation that happen around smartphones will seed next decade’s glasses-based AR commerce – the real endgame.

This post is adapted from ARtillery Intelligence’s latest report. To access the report and full XR intelligence library, subscribe here (VRARA members receive a discount).

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.