Augmented reality

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is the technology that superimposes images on a user’s view of the real world. To date, the most common application of AR has been through social media, in the form of Facebook and Snapchat photo filters. However AR is not just a social application. It already has numerous marketing and operational applications for businesses. As technology improves, the range of applications will grow and the use of AR by retailers and consumer product businesses is set to increase rapidly.


Digital Predictions 2018

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What are the key trends that Deloitte predicts for augmented reality?

  • Over a billion smartphone users will create AR content at least once in 2018, with 300 million being monthly creators and tens of millions making and sharing content weekly.
  • The number of users making and sharing AR content regularly will grow direct AR revenues beyond $1 billion by 2020.
  • While almost all AR (more than 95 per cent) in 2017 was cartoon style, AR will be over 50 per cent realistic in 2018.

What does it mean for consumer businesses?


AR has the ability to truly enhance the consumer experience. Retailers will be able to use it in the decision-making stage of the consumer journey, to overlay product information and consumer reviews onto products in store. It can also be used to showcase products directly in consumers’ homes and as an after-sale service, for example, delivering clearer instructions for flat-pack furniture and electrical equipment.

Consumer packaged goods and manufacturing

Accurate AR offers a practical application for workers in the consumer packaged goods and certain industrial manufacturing sectors. Farm and factory workers will benefit from AR thatallows components to be identified, instructions to be added to equipment virtually, and instant performance and safety feedback shared.

Travel, hospitality and leisure

AR can also be applied by the travel, hospitality and leisure sectors. In aviation, AR will be used by ground staff who need detailed information about logistics, safety and compliance. Tour operators and travel companies will be able to provide AR enhanced tours, and consumer generated content such as messages left at points of interest will change the way that we experience tourist destinations.

What should consumer businesses be doing?

  1. When working with developers to apply AR, ensure that AR adds to the experience and isn’t superfluous. 
  2. Experiment enthusiastically but pragmatically with different applications.
  3. Don’t just explore the marketing opportunities AR provides, think about the possibilities for AR to assist with sales, technical guidance and aftermarket support.
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