Augmented reality (AR) technology integrates digital information with the physical environment, live and in real time. Through the addition of graphics, sounds, haptic feedback, or even smell to the natural world as it exists, AR can combine real life with a super-imposed image or animation using the camera on a mobile device or through AR headsets and glasses. As part of the wider extended reality (XR) industry, the global AR market size is expected to grow considerably in the coming years.
Smartphones act as an easy entry point to AR
An important segment of the market is mobile AR, taking advantage of the vast number of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices the global population owns or has access to. In 2023, the number of potential mobile AR user devices is expected to reach 1.4 billion. Growth is expected in both the enterprise and consumer segments, including digital AR experiences. One of the most well-known examples of this is Pokémon Go, the location-based AR mobile game, with in-game purchases within such applications accounting for a sizeable proportion of consumer mobile AR spending.
Further competition in the AR headset market as Apple enters the scene
AR is also enabled using hardware in the form of headsets and glasses. On a consumer level, the AR hardware market was valued at 2.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2023, although is projected to rise to over nine billion U.S. dollars by 2027. The market will be supported by the introduction of a variety of new AR headset devices, as well as new companies entering the market too. A notable example is Apple, debuting its first immersive headset as part of its annual developer conference in June 2023. Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality device that allows users to move from AR to more immersive virtual reality experiences through the turn of a dial.
New AR headset devices entering the market will act as a catalyst
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Research expert covering the global hardware industry