Industry rhetoric about AR’s world-changing status sometimes outweighs evidence that it’s captivating consumers today. Though we see some signals, such as lens engagement figures from Snap and others, we’re often “flying blind” when it comes to consumer AR sentiment.

Looking to fill that gap, AR Insider’s research arm ARtillery Intelligence has completed Wave V of its annual consumer survey report. Working with consumer survey specialist Thrive Analytics, it wrote questions to be fielded to 102,000+ U.S. adults and produced a report based on the results.

Known as AR Usage & Consumer Attitudes, Wave V, it follows similar reports over the last few years. Five waves of research now bring new insights and trend data to light. And all five waves represent a collective six-digit sum of U.S. adults for robust longitudinal analysis.

Among the topics: How is mobile AR resonating with everyday consumers? How often are they using it? How satisfied are they? What types of experiences do they like most? How much are they willing to pay for it? And for those who aren’t interested in mobile AR….why not?

AR Usage & Consumer Attitudes, Wave V

A Win for AR

Picking up where we left off in the last installment, how satisfied are mobile AR users? It turns out, very. 75 percent are either satisfied (43 percent) or very satisfied (32 percent). 15 percent remain neutral and 10 percent report low or very low satisfaction. Overall, this is a win for AR.

In fact, there are relatively few consumer products that show such high satisfaction. As a point of comparison, the satisfaction levels in the VR counterpart to this survey are also high. But they’re lower than these AR sentiments, with 70 percent either satisfied or very satisfied.

This tells us a few things. For one, AR’s visually-rich and immersive format is already captivating consumers. This is largely due to its revolutionary – rather than evolutionary – interface when compared with non-immersive mobile app experiences that have become routine.

It also counters anecdotal observations that we and others have made about the underwhelming state of some mobile AR experiences. We stand by the assertion that AR will evolve a great deal – just as early iOS apps did – but it’s notable that high satisfaction is already present today.

Mobile AR Users Break the One-Billion Barrier

How and How Often…

Beyond satisfaction, another health check for mobile AR is how often it’s being used. Due to arm fatigue from holding up a smartphone, relatively short AR sessions should be counterbalanced by high frequency. So the name of the game in AR experience design is to instill active use.

For example, mobile AR experiences that fuse the novelty of augmentation with frequent or repeatable activities show the most potential. These “sticky” behaviors include social messaging, gaming, and utilities like visual search. These are activities that naturally happen daily or more.

Drilling into the data, 75 percent of mobile AR users are active at least monthly, 54 percent at least weekly, and 30 percent daily (see chart above). To clarify, this isn’t all consumers but the subset who indicated that they are mobile AR users, which is about 30 percent of respondents.

But it’s not all good news when it comes to usage frequency. Though monthly and weekly usage look strong, daily active use declined from Wave IV (2021). If we pan back, there’s an upward trend considering 2019 and 2020 results, but the nearer-term dip should be noted.

We’ll pause there and circle back in the next installment with more mobile AR sentiment analysis. Meanwhile, check out the full report here

Header image credit: Zed AR

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