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Mobile Augmented Reality Users to Reach 200M by 2018

The emerging technology and application ecosystem around Augmented Reality (AR) has continued its evolution towards image recognition, as opposed to relying solely on Global Positioning Systems and Digital Compass apps.

New findings from the latest market study by Juniper Research has shown that the mobile AR market is set to increase dramatically -- from 60 million unique users this year to nearly 200 million in 2018.

The evolving market will expand from the early adopting gaming segment and navigation based utility to becoming an integral part of the mobile device user ecosystem.

The market study uncovered that despite initial trepidation and single use applications of the technology, Juniper forecasts AR to become a key future platform for mobile communication and commerce.

AR has a potential to engage a new generation of consumers in a unique manner, combining the personal nature of mobile devices with the Internet’s wealth of accessible information.

Augmented Reality App Diversity and Evolution

Juniper found that as the market matures, the app ecosystem is set to expand rapidly over the forecast period. Initial innovations will stem from games, such as Google Ingress, but the technology will expand to include lifestyle and fitness apps.

It also contends the possibility of a paradigm shifting utilization of AR within social media, potentially breaking the digital-physical wall with potential future uses allowing a digital representation of a person to appear in the users surroundings.


Juniper Research forecasts that as the AR market matures the utilization of AR applications will evolve to suit the device -- with the tablet becoming a natural environment for multimedia and second screen apps and the smartphone becoming a platform for navigation AR apps to thrive on.

The forthcoming 'smart glasses' category will once again evolve this dynamic, as users will increasingly benefit from multiple AR capable devices each with unique app ecosystems.

Regional Concentration of Augmented Reality

Juniper notes that the mobile AR market will continue to be dominated by three key regions, North America, Western Europe and the Far East & China.

These regions benefit by being some of the most developed and mature smartphone and tablet markets in the world - the key platform for AR developers.

These regions will also be the first to adopt smart glasses -- the next big development for AR.

Other key findings from the market study include:
  • In-app advertisers will see a high value and low volume market evolve over the forecast period.
  • Japan will be most valuable augmented reality market per user download, with the U.S. market ranking as third by 2018.

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