Forecast: Retail will be largest AR/VR segment by 2020
- The International Data Corporation's "Worldwide Semiannual Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide" has been updated to forecast a 130.5% increase in augmented and virtual reality spending this year reaching $13.9 billion per a company press release.
- The retail industry's spending on AR and VR is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 238.7%, pushing it ahead of discrete manufacturing to become the top industry by spend in 2020.
- The largest areas of investment in 2017 include retail showcasing, product development and industrial maintenance. Looking ahead, online retail showcasing is expected to grow quickly.
The report points to the important role that immersive technologies are likely to play for retailers moving forward as they look to address the growth in online shopping, declining store traffic and the demand for omnichannel experiences. For example, Gap is testing a virtual dressing room app.
While AR and VR headsets get most of the attention right now, it is likely to be software and services running on these platforms that will drive mainstream adoption if these offerings are perceived as must-have by consumers. To this end, producers are moving beyond games for VR while businesses are beginning to test app development for AR, per IDC.
For marketers, virtual and augmented reality technology resides in something of a gray area. Brands are making waves in the space and the enhanced storytelling opportunities for both varieties of the tech are enticing. But, tangible benefits are tough to point to and marketplace acceptance of the tech is far from certain.
While last year’s viral hit Pokemon Go provided a map for how consumers might interact with AR tech via mobile devices, VR tech requires another level of hardware and consumer acceptance.