Mobile augmented reality user base is set to increase dramatically from 60 million unique users this year to nearly 200 million in 2018. According to Juniper Research, the market will expand from the early adopting gaming segment and navigation based utility to become an integral part of the consumer’s ecosystem.
The research firm argues that despite initial trepidation and single use applications of the technology, AR will emerge a key future platform for communication and commerce due to its potential to engage a new generation of consumers in a unique manner.
As the market matures, the app ecosystem is set to expand rapidly over the forecast period. Initial innovations will stem from games, but the technology will expand to include lifestyle and fitness apps. Moreover, the utilization of AR apps will evolve to suit the device, with the tablet becoming a natural environment for multimedia and second screen apps and the smartphone becoming a platform for navigation AR apps to thrive on. Forthcoming smart glasses will also have an important role in the market.
Three key regions will dominate the market — North America, Western Europe and the Far East & China — and here users will be the first to adopt smart glasses. In app advertisers will see a high value / low volume market evolve over the forecast period, while the ever tech-savvy Japan will emerge as the most valuable market per user download.