DressingRoom by Gap

Pokémon Go was just the beginning.

Less than a year after the debut of the disruptive game that took adults to the streets chasing virtual cartoons, augmented reality has rooted itself as a mainstay of user experiences. Having been adopted by tech giants like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, individuals now expect their social — and shopping — journeys to be informed by the technology.

A new study released by eMarketer confirms the popularity of augmented reality and use rates are geared to expand. According to a report: “Forty million Americans will engage with some form of augmented reality monthly, up 30 percent over last year.”

Driven by social media’s embrace of the technology that’s been realized in features and items such as Snapchat lenses, Facebook and Instagram stories, the research said that over 12 percent of the U.S. population will engage monthly with augmented reality technology.

That’s only going to grow, the study said. “By 2019, AR users are expected to top 54.4 million, 16.4 percent of the population or nearly one in five Internet users,” said the report.

“Users of Snapchat Lenses comprise the vast majority of our AR estimates,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Chris Bendtsen. “Snapchat growth will continue to contribute to AR users in the future, but in the next several years eMarketer also expects Facebook and Instagram Stories to be significant growth drivers of AR usage.”

Augmented reality has already invaded shopping sectors. Early adopters such as Google and Amazon have both devised and integrated the technology into their commerce channels.

Google’s Tango technology paired with Gap’s DressingRoom app allows users to preview items on a virtual mannequin designed to a specific dress size via their smartphone. Amazon’s Product Preview function enables shoppers to digitally survey different TV sizes in a shopper’s home.

As social media increasingly immerses user experiences into its functionality, consumers will be primed to experiment and deploy AR for seamless try-on tools and potential mobile checkout options.

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