The Augmented Reality Market Is Predicted to Hit $133.7B by 2021

The augmented reality market is still on the rise. New numbers just out from Zion Market Research put the global augmented reality market at an estimated USD 133.78 billion in 2021. For reference, it clocked in at just 3.33 billion in 2015.

Why is AR’s star rising so quickly and what should we expect to see in the near future of this particular tech space? The answers reveal the constraints in how consumers adapt to new technologies.

AR Works on Our Current Infrastructure

Smartphones, laptops, and internet connections are what the modern world runs on. VR headsets, Snapchat spectacles, and wearables are in a different tech bucket: They’re curiosities that early adapters love but that will take forever to trickle down to the average layperson.

AR runs on any smartphone. VR — a form of tech that shares some similarities and is commonly paired with AR — requires more complex hardware. As a result, AR fads like Pokemon Go can take off immediately, while VR trends are far more limited.

AR Is a Small Step

When it comes to tech evolution, the big changes are flashier, but the small changes tend to stick faster and stay longer. Plenty of AR apps exist that are shedding a new light on everyday experiences, bringing to life everything from museum exhibits to wine bottles. Since a peering at new AR app is not as disorienting as donning a VR headset, it’s easier to introduce to a stranger. Pokemon Go might have been a fad, but AR is a new tech paradigm with easy to understand implications for industries from local broadcasting to dating apps.

With Apple’s release of the ARKit for iOS 11, AR is more accessible to developers than ever. VC investments are proving their interest, and after climbing $3.33 billion to an estimated $133.78 billion, augmented reality seems up to the challenge.

Read more about the future of AR on TechCo

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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