AR Gives Most Consumers More Confidence In Purchases, Study Finds

How effective is augmented reality (AR) in swaying consumers toward a specific product? And how is AR used throughout the purchase journey?

On Thursday, Snap and Publicis Media Exchange (PMX) released findings from a two-part study conducted by research consultancy AlterAgents that provides answers to these questions.

The study -- which gathered over 4,000 interviews with 13- to-49-year-olds in the U.S., UK, France, and Saudi Arabia -- breaks down how AR can benefit a brand, and how it is being utilized by current consumers.

As a result of using AR, the study finds, 80% of shoppers feel more confident in their purchase, which makes 66% of shoppers using AR less likely to return their purchases.

These findings come after Snap and PMX's prior AR study in 2021, which found the COVID-19 pandemic had accelerated consumers' need for AR, with 57% of those surveyed wanting to increase AR usage post-pandemic, and 66% of consumers agreeing they would be likely to purchase a product after a branded AR experience.

“When buying products online, shoppers want to make sure they're making a purchase that they will ultimately be happy with, and AR unlocks a huge opportunity when it comes to buyer confidence because of the advancements in fit and placement technology,” says Dave Roter, vice president of global agency partnerships at Snap Inc. “Immersive customer experiences using AR are helping our advertisers sell more products while driving more long-term customer value.”

The new study shows that tools and information that consumers seek most –– the quality of a product, reviews, and 360° views of what is being sold –– are lacking among 67% of consumers in their current purchase journey.

AR, the study says, fulfills these unmet needs with advanced detection, product visualization and try-on features, which rank higher than non-AR features in driving purchase intent across categories.

In addition, shopping experiences were found to be easier and more fun when AR was involved, as a quarter of shoppers reported using AR as a preferred substitute for an in-person experience in CPGs, Clothing, Retail, and Travel.

Snapchat, specifically, is where over one-third of AR experiences were being discovered by shoppers surveyed.

Finally, findings show that there is untapped potential for AR at the post-purchase stage of the consumer journey, with 96% of shoppers interested in using any post-purchase AR experiences such as product instructions, sharing opportunities, reviews, and suggested pairings.

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