The mobile augmented reality (AR) market is finally on the verge of fulfilling its potential and going mainstream, following years of hype. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets with ever-improving processing capabilities, sensors, and soon, 3D cameras, has provided an ideal medium for people to experience AR. Additionally, the creation of AR content has been made much easier with a variety of tools consisting of simple drag-and-drop interfaces that allow developers to design their own applications.
According to a new report from Tractica, this market momentum will drive growth in annual downloads of mobile AR apps to 1.2 billion worldwide by 2019, up from 272 million downloads in 2014. Despite the fact that many of the apps will not be actively used, the market intelligence firm forecasts that the installed base of actively used mobile AR apps will rise from 135 million in 2014 to 2.2 billion by 2019. Tractica projects that this growth will create a market of $1.6 billion for mobile AR apps in 2019.
“Mobile augmented reality is beginning to shake off the reputation of being gimmicky, a perception that has dogged the industry for the last few years,” says principal analyst Craig Foster. “There is a growing awareness of AR and an understanding about how the technology can be beneficial in a variety of sectors. One of the most notable trends is product visualization, where users are able to view how items will look in their homes without having to visit a physical location or commit to a purchase when not quite certain.”
Foster adds that gaming and entertainment will drive the highest volumes of app downloads, however both retail, e-commerce, and product visualization as well as education and toys will actually generate higher usage rates of mobile AR apps. Other notable segments in this market, according to the Tractica study, will include marketing and advertising, information, and industrial applications.
Tractica’s report, “Augmented Reality for Mobile Devices”, provides global market forecasts for installed base, active users, downloads, and revenue for mobile augmented reality applications. This data is segmented by five major world regions (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa) and seven application types (Gaming and Entertainment, Marketing and Advertising, Information, Education and Toys, Retail and Ecommerce, Industrial, and Others). Additionally, Tractica forecasts revenues from the licensing of software development kits and cloud-based solutions, paid applications, application advertising, and in-app upgrades, with all forecasts extending through 2019. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.