The US will have 40m augmented-reality users this year


Well, that’s what research firm eMarketer is predicting anyway: that 40 million Americans will engage with some form of augmented reality at least monthly in 2017. That’s up 30.2% year-on-year.

The growth is no surprise though: as eMarketer points out, Snapchat lenses and similar tech in Facebook and Instagram’s apps counts as AR, so a fair amount of this AR engagement is flappy dog tongues and face-swapping fun.

The company expects 12.3% of the US population to engage with some form of AR content in 2017, although it predicts that will rise to 16.4% (54.4 million people) by 2019.

eMarketer AR predictionrketer

“Users of Snapchat Lenses comprise the vast majority of our AR estimates,” said analyst Chris Bendtsen. “Snapchat growth will continue to contribute to AR users in the future, but in the next several years eMarketer also expects Facebook Stories to be a significant growth driver of AR usage, since it is now widely available to Facebook’s user base.”

eMarketer’s report also has some predictions for virtual reality: 22.4 million monthly users in the US this year, up 109.5% year-on-year, although that includes people watching 360-degree videos and photos on, for example, Facebook and YouTube.

When it comes to actual VR headsets, eMarketer reckons there’ll be 9.6 million monthly users in the US in 2017, up 98.7%.

Written by: Stuart Dredge