Snapchat, Facebook fuelling augmented reality growth: Report

Fuelled by Snapchat Lenses and Facebook Stories, augmented reality is gaining fast traction in the US, a new report from market research firm eMarketer reveals.

In 2017, 40 million people in the US will engage with some form of augmented reality (AR) at least monthly, up 30.2 per cent over last year, the report said.

Meanwhile, VR – driven mainly by 360-degree photos and videos on Facebook and YouTube — has been slower to catch on in the US, and will not reach mass adoption in the foreseeable future, according to eMarketer’s first forecast on AR and virtual reality (VR).

The market research firm defines AR users as individuals of any age who engage with augmented reality content at least once per month via any device.

This year, 12.3 per cent of the US population will engage with some form of AR content, the report said.

By the end of 2019, eMarketer projects AR users will top 54.4 million, accounting for 16.4 per cent of the US population, or nearly one in five internet users.

“Users of Snapchat Lenses comprise the vast majority of our AR estimates,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Chris Bendtsen.

With Lenses, users can add real-time special effects and sounds to video messages sent over Snapchat.

“Snapchat growth will continue to contribute to AR users in the future, but in the next several years eMarketer also expects Facebook Stories to be a significant growth driver of AR usage, since it is now widely available to Facebook’s user base,” Bendtsen said.

Often referred to as as Snapchat clone, Facebook Stories lets users add effects to their photos and videos.

The definition of VR used for the research includes 360-degree videos, photos and product demos via any device (for example, connected TVs, desktops/laptops, mobile devices and headsets), and games via headsets.

This year, just 2.9 per cent of the US population will use a VR headset at least monthly, the research estimates, with that number growing to just 5.2 per cent by 2019.


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