There’s a common rallying cry among AR proponents that the technology will transform the way people shop. Stepping away from inherently-vested narratives, where are the proof points? Does AR shopping – or camera commerce as we call it – resonate with real consumers?

To support that notion, there are several well-worn performance indicators for AR’s ability to boost conversions in eCommerce contexts. It also can reduce product returns, which are a big retailer pain point. All of this results from elevated buyer confidence from 3D visualization.

Beyond performance, there’s consumer sentiment data. Are they asking for AR? For those who have discovered it otherwise, is it something that’s working for them? Survey data from our research arm ARtillery Intelligence signals good and bad news for consumer AR traction.

Another data set recently hit our desks from 3D shopping tech provider Camera IQ, indicating positive sentiment towards immersive shopping. Consisting of consumer survey data on shopping behavior, it’s the focus of this week’s Data Dive, with takeaways and commentary below.

Data Dive: Is AR Landing with Everyday Consumers?

Data Dive

Before diving into the findings, what was the methodology? Camera IQ surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers in December 2021. Respondent age range was 16 to 54, with the majority 18 to 44. This makes the findings U.S.-centric but demographically diverse and directionally relevant.

Here are the highlights we extracted:

76 percent of respondents have used AR at least once (frequency notwithstanding).

More than half of those who haven’t tried AR say they hope to in the future.

– Among those who have used AR, most have used outward-facing product visualizations such as furniture (39 percent).

– That’s followed by body-based try-ons such as clothing or makeup (36 percent) and AR-based games (32 percent).

59 percent say they would be more likely to purchase a product they’ve seen visualized through AR.

82 percent say they’d likely feel positively towards brands that use AR to educate them about products.

39 percent prefer brands that use AR over other content formats.

66 percent say they find brands on social platforms.

82 percent say that social media is the place they’re likely to engage with AR (e.g., Snap lenses).

78 percent say they’re likely to share a brand’s AR experience with their community, and 53 percent have already done so.

41 percent are more likely to share an AR experience versus a brands’ 2D media posts (images, text, stories, etc.).

– In terms of motivations for posting AR content, 26 percent say they do it to get feedback on how something looked (e.g. product try-ons).

– That’s followed by 25 percent who want to share a story or memory; 21 percent who want friends to be able to try the same AR experience; 19 percent who want to share something funny, and 9 percent who want to show off a “cool experience.”

29 percent of media agencies are currently buying AR ads, (not including AR marketing on non-paid channels such as brands’ own apps).

67 percent of non-adoptive agencies hope to use paid AR ad campaigns (e.g., sponsored lenses) in the future.

The Immersive Commerce Era: AR & Shopping Collide

Shareability and Virality

Synthesizing these results, a few things jump out. First, like other studies we’ve examined on consumer AR sentiment, there’s a clear consumer affinity for AR. And that’s most popular in evaluating products prior to purchase, meaning AR has inherently monetizable qualities.

But that demand isn’t met by supply. By supply, we mean brands and retailers that offer AR product visualization and try-on experiences. This notion is supported by the fact that only 29 percent of agency execs have engaged in sponsored AR lenses (though most are interested).

This all points to the fact that there’s an opportunity to close that supply gap. And brands that do so can gain an early mover advantage. That can mean a competitive edge over less-adoptive competitors, as well as gaining early competency in AR marketing best practices.

All of this is amplified in social media, which is another clear signal from Camera IQ’s data. Not only is social media a natural place to integrate AR, per Snap’s continued efforts, but it can propel AR-based content. That happens as distribution is fueled by shareability and social-graph virality.

Overall, these are mostly positive results for AR shopping (acknowledging a geographically limited sample and vendor-produced report). It’s clear that AR is becoming expected in shopping – a key turning point in any technology that compels brand adoption as a competitive necessity.

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