Insights From The Blog
The Groundbreaking Development of XR
It’s easy to be dismissive of XR and its importance to so many diverse areas of business, technology, and entertainment, but the fact is that this is a groundbreaking development that has the ability to impact how we live and work. While already a powerful tool, design improvements to optics and reduced size of devices will help us accept headsets as more normal additions to our everyday lives. With the promise of AR headsets being the size of glasses but without loss of computing power, suddenly we can all be like Tony Stark. If you think that this is all a bit pie in the sky, have a look at some of the statistics about XR.
- The XR market will be worth around $50 billion by 2024. Just two and a half years away, but with XR usage growing and the availability of usable devices expanding at an exponential rate, that market level looks pretty certain. Of course, this includes Military applications, which are a huge and growing user of XR, but private markets are also expanding as never before. The more businesses invest in XR, it will become increasingly mainstream and self-perpetuating. Some pundits are even putting the XR market at a staggering $198 billion by as early as 2025..!
- AR investment is growing. According to an influential report, worldwide spending on XR devices reached $18.8 billion in 2020. This is up by an enormous 78.5% from 2019, and is set to continue spiraling skyward as more people get onboard with the technology. Currently, around a billion people worldwide regularly use XR and that is growing as huge international companies like Google and Facebook push the technology. Facebook recently added 3D mapping company Scape, to its business portfolio, showing great interest in this business which is building a digital 3D map of the entire physical world. As global companies continue to increasingly invest in AR, we can expect to see AR and its derivatives becoming even more integrated into our lives.
- XR Shopping is now a reality. It is estimated that around 100 million consumers use some kind of virtual reality as part of their shopping experience, prompting stores and businesses to invest in the technology. A growing number of shops are finding that customers are expecting to have some kind of XR interaction, whether it be a virtual wardrobe or ordering enhancement, and are having to incorporate the technology into their stores.
- Advertising is becoming XR savvy. In America, around 67% of advertisers are now including XR experiences in their marketing. Top of the list are the travel, automotive, and entertainment industries which are expecting to see big benefits from augmented reality campaigns, including walkthroughs and virtual tours. Customers have given hugely positive feedback to this kind of marketing so it is only going to increase.
- Increased conversion rate. Many businesses have found that using XR technology in your online shopping experience can increase their conversion rates by up to 40%. This conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. For example, if an ecommerce site receives 200 visitors in a month and has 50 sales, the conversion rate would be 50 divided by 200, or 25%. Using AR can give customers the confidence to buy, increase their post-purchase satisfaction, and help reduce return rates of goods as the customer has a higher confidence at purchase.
- Younger people are more likely to embrace XR. As many as 70% of consumers aged between 16 and 44 are aware of XR and its potential, which is fairly impressive since it is a relatively new technology on the market. We’re seeing an adoption rate that is allusive to the early days of ecommerce.
- Consumers apparently prefer XR experiences. A growing number – around 61%, actually – of consumers are actively choosing to go to shops and businesses that have some kind of XR experience amongst their shopping or purchase options. Ikea, the huge Swedish retailer, is reporting an enormous uptake of its IKEA Place App, which allows users to transpose IKEA furniture and fittings onto their own home and see what it would look like. Apps like this are growing as companies – and customers – see the benefits of using them.
Of course, we all know that statistics can be manipulated; If I have a tub with 99 red beans and 1 blue bean, and in a blind test I remove the one blue bean, I could reasonably assume that the entire barrel consisted of blue beans. Statistics is a bit like that. But assuming that the above crop is correct, then it looks as though XR products and devices have a great future.