Retailers have up to six months to develop AR apps or risk losing customers


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Retailers have up to six months to develop AR apps or risk losing customers.

Nearly three in four consumers (69%) now expect retailers to launch an augmented reality app within the next six months, according to new research.

Following the launch of iPhone 8 and iOS 11, and Apple's new AR platform - ARKit - developers can now build high-quality AR experiences for iPhone and iPad users. And Google is also set to do the same for android developers with the launch of ARCore.

As such augmented reality has now become the most sought after technology by consumers, with 61% saying this is the technology they are most excited about using, compared to 30% who think virtual reality should take priority in the consumer market, with the remaining 9% believing that artificial intelligence tools, like chat bots, will be most beneficial.

Apple's first foray into augmented reality with its ARKit platform has helped the technology – which allows the user to overlay digital elements onto an image of the real world on a smartphone or tablet – to elevate AR into the mainstream after years of being developed in the shadows of VR.

The findings form part of a retail report, commissioned by UK based mixed reality company DigitalBridge, examining the state of technology in the retail sector.

The study found that one in five consumers expect retailers to have already come up with a usable AR experience prior to the launch of ARKit, while nearly half (49%) are anticipating a rise in the number of applications within the next six months.

Another 18% don't expect to be kept waiting longer than 12 months before they are offered access to an augmented reality platform and 82% are expecting the technology to be made available via mobile, rather than it being brought in as an instore experience.

David Levine, CEO of DigitalBridge, said: "Augmented reality hasn't really caught the public's attention as much as virtual reality, thanks to its popularity in the gaming and leisure industry. However, Apple's focus on this immersive technology and its forthcoming battle with Google (and others) has really turned the focus on its head and augmented reality is having its first mainstream moment.

"As a business and commerce application, particularly when it comes to mobile commerce, augmented reality has much more potential than virtual reality as it's easier and cheaper to implement and I think we're going to see a new eco-system of AR enabled experiences in the coming weeks and months."

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