Deloitte is predicting that over a billion smartphone users will use their smartphones to access AR experiences at least once in 2018.
The professional services giant estimates that 300,000 million users will become monthly smartphone AR users, with tens of millions making and sharing content weekly.
As part of its latest Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2018 report, the company thinks that 2018 will be a huge year for AR. As AR-compatible smartphones become the norm, thousands of apps incorporating the technology will flood into the hands of consumers.
This increased availability is likely to translate into discrete app revenues for AR content of around $100 million globally. Deloitte doesn’t, however, think that AR will by itself add this increased revenue. Instead, AR capability will be an important differentiator for social, messaging, shopping and gaming apps, as well as being an important driver of smartphone upgrades.
2018 is going to be an important year for AR, mainly because it will set up continued growth into the last years of this decade and beyond. As the core technologies continue to evolve and content improves, Deloitte predicts AR revenues to hit $1 billion and above by 2020.
A key evolutionary stage for AR, will be when developers really begin to break away from the novelty factor and hone in on when AR adds to an experience and when it is superfluous. As this starts to happen, it is likely to see AR leaking into a wider variety of apps, such as navigation apps placing directional arrows over camera images. While it is not really necessary to have this feature working for the whole journey, it would be a great additional feature when the users reach the last quarter mile of their journey.
One of the major constraints of smartphone AR is likely to be the unwillingness of users to hold their phone up for long periods of time. This makes the task of developers to only utilise the technology when it is absolutely necessary all the more important.
While the Deloitte predictions focuses almost entirely on smartphone AR, the company did have this to say about AR headsets:
“Every premium smartphone sold in 2018 should be capable of video AR at no additional cost to the consumer, whereas dedicated AR headsets may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and it might be two or three years before they’re available in the consumer market at accessible pricing.”