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Though XR’s place in driving commerce will reside more in the AR realm, VR could play a role too. Its scale will be lower than AR due to the latter’s portability, versatility and in-store access (read: smartphone), but it’s showing signs of interest according to new Facebook data.
63 percent of its survey respondents (n=11,300) indicated interest in using VR to view products without having to visit physical stores (we’re with you there). Known as VCommerce, these figures vary by product category, with travel (71%) and retail (58%) not surprisingly leading.
Back to AR, the survey also asked about branded AR experiences. But instead of aspirational sentiments (like the above), it addressed actual use. And the discovery is that 63 percent of internet users surveyed have indeed tried AR experiences such as branded lenses.
This is important because it further validates the business case for AR advertising. We’ve examined other proof points such as the efficacy, ad performance metrics and ROI, which are all positive. The issue is that brands are famously laggard to new tech in the aggregate.
This resistance will break down, but it could take a while. Going by historical lessons, mobile advertising took years to reach meaningful scale. That goes for both advertiser adoption, and the technology finding its native footing with effective ad formats — a process still underway.
In our recent XR Global Forecast, we pegged AR advertising at $167 million, growing to $2.4 billion in 2022. That’s lower than other research firms, and informed largely by the above cultural dynamics on the “buy side,” not to mention the relatively low ad inventory (AR active usage).
But beyond that admittedly scrutinizing take, we’re still supportive and positive on AR’s impact in advertising. Heck, it’s one of the only sub-sectors of AR that’s making money today, aside from the runaway in-app purchases of Pokemon Go. And we will see growth — albeit slow — in 2019.
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