The expanding use cases of augmented reality (AR) will contribute to the growth of consumer and enterprise markets. As global tech market advisory firm ABI Research predicts, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026.
The numbers are enough to surpass the amount of $175 billion in the same year.
“Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth,” said Eric Abbruzzese, research director for ABI Research. “Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature.”
The major tech players being referred to are Apple, Facebook, Google, Samsung, Huawei, Microsoft, among others that have been already investing significantly in AR.
ABI Research also noted how the enterprise adoption of AR is gaining ground posting a “respectable pace of 66% CAGR through 2026 (compared to 100% or greater CAGR for some consumer verticals).” Use cases include “remote assistance, training, and knowledge capture, which skyrocketed alongside COVID-19, where remote worker enablement became a requirement rather than a value add.”
Initial hesitancy on utilizing the technology is slowly starting to subside after organizations realize the value of AR. ABI Research said the interest may continue “even as the pandemic begins to wane.” Note that lockdowns accelerated digital transformation and adoption of new technologies increased to ensure business continuity.
“Enterprise AR platforms from the likes of PTC, Teamviewer, RE’FLEKT, and ScopeAR are both competing and cooperating with increased in-house efforts from companies entering the space with broader digitization efforts as well as more focused immersive goals,” ABI Research said.
ABI also predicts the growth rate would come from binocular and mixed reality HMDs — for consumer and enterprise markets — with nearly 130% CAGR for mixed reality glasses compared to 60% for augmented reality glasses.
Mixed reality solutions may gain popularity because of declining prices, strengthened by fresh consumer hardware competition that needs to be affordable, along with greater competitive choice and software opportunity.
“Some targeted use cases, especially around industrial verticals and applications will remain focused on monocular products thanks to well-developed sales and implementation channels, safety and certification needs, and often simpler implementation and usage requirements,” ABI Research said.
“Challenges in price and implementation remain, as do questions around ultimate value for new use cases for consumers, but early and ongoing investment in the space is addressing these challenges. This early market maturity keeps consumer promising, high-value worker enablement maintains enterprise value, and so the outlook for AR is robust,” said Abbruzzese.