2018 Trends Shaping Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

19 December 2018

There is solid and compelling evidence augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are gathering momentum in a vast variety of modern industries. AR and VR have been introduced to healthcare, gaming, retail, finance, art, and, education, among other sectors. No matter what industry they are incorporated into, these technologies continue to surprise us with their latest improvements.


Compared to 2014, when the number of VR users was one million, more than 150 million users have had VR experience in 2018. It’s nowhere near the limit as the number is estimated to be growing steadily. A Zion Market Research report forecasts the virtual reality market will total $26.8 billion by 2022. The value will have increased by more than $24 billion since 2016, meaning the future of AR and VR is highly promising.

In 2017, revenue came mainly from users more than from industries. However, the latter should pay heed to the possibilities of VR and AR. No doubt, it is high time they start integrating them into operations as both AR and VR are only going to advance. The major VR and AR trends in 2018 have proved the march of VR and AR progress won’t be halted.

VR and AR Appeal to More Than the Senses of Sight and Hearing

Although virtual reality is usually associated with vision and sound, attempts to address other senses are being made. In the near future, users will be able to have a more versatile virtual reality experience. Today, they can diversify it with the help of virtual reality scent devices. For example, VAQSO VR is the tiniest virtual reality scent device attached to a VR headset to help users smell virtual reality. Feelreal Sensory Mask is another innovative device designed to boost the virtual reality experience with physical simulations related to heat, smell, vibration, wind, and other effects.

Looxid Labs has created LooxidVR that won an award for best innovation during CES 2018. LooxidVR is the first mobile-based VR headset to collect users’ eye and brain data at the same time. The company has come up with a revolutionary design which incorporates EEG electrodes and built-in-eye tracking cameras into one VR headset. LooxidVR allows eye and brain data and VR content to be automatically synchronized. According to The Next Web, this technology enables users and developers gain more control over virtual reality.

Virtual Reality Products Become More Affordable

As the competition in the industry intensifies, companies specializing in VR have reconsidered their prices. Industry leaders as Oculus and HTC had to cut them. A continuing downward trend makes VR products accessible to people of different income. It is expected the prices of VR products will continue to drop because more VR products are becoming available to users in 2018. Another reason for rapid VR product proliferation is their self-sustainability. Affordable and autonomous VR devices like Oculus Go let users immerse in the virtual reality experience without additional expenses.

Augmented Reality Strengthens its Position

Pokemon Go and similar apps have initiated a revolution in augmented reality. AR is the dominant topic in the tech sector because of its recent exponential growth. It results from the introduction of AR to widely-used mobile apps. In fact, smartphones have become a fertile platform for the implementation of AR features. More and more businesses focus on adopting mobile strategies based on AR. Not only does augmented reality allow eliminating the costs associated with additional physical devices, but its accessibility also increases the number of users. AR software turns commonplace gadgets into interactive AR tools which make “an enhanced version of the physical, real-world reality of which elements are superimposed by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensor input such as sound, video, graphics or haptics.”

Marketing Campaigns Will Depend on AR More

Augmented reality changes how people shop. It has penetrated the promotional campaigns of various companies. For instance, IKEA allows clients to check if chosen furniture fits their rooms. With the AR app, users can scan their apartments and experiment with furniture in 3D. Retail businesses consider AR technology to be an effective tool for establishing a close connection with customers. As a result, many of them don’t mind investing more in the development of AR software and hardware. For example, to engage clients’ interest, Pitch Perfect 3 with augmented reality banners was launched to encourage users to take AR selfies and post them on social media.

Snapchat has been a leader in creating AR-based advertising features. Recently, HBO released a temporary Snapchat filter to promote Game of Thrones. Lacoste has developed an app allowing users to see if shoes suit them. AR escalation in the market may only be encumbered by the lack of imagination. Pepsi MAX doesn’t have to worry as they have proved to be genuinely creative when they installed a screen at the bus stop to make people believe aliens are invading the world. Consumers may prefer to experience other forms of virtual and augmented realities, but they won’t be against ads and apps helping them make better choices.

The Future of VR and Advertising Goes Hand in Hand

While the advertising industry expands the use of VR, virtual reality raises consumer awareness about products and brands. Their interconnection is beneficial for every party involved in the market. Digital marketing enhanced by virtual reality ads has been particularly advantageous for manufacturers. For example, a virtual test drive of the new Infiniti Q60 fills clients with longing to buy it immediately. Brands like Chick-Fil-A create VR websites to promote their products.

Virtual reality marketing isn’t as widespread as augmented reality or mixed reality advertising. But, it finds its users and continues to improve. The VR development company, Unity, announced the launch of “Virtual Room” to enable brands like Lionsgate to advertise with VR apps. The company cooperates with advertising agencies having strict guidelines. The cases of a successful VR adoption in marketing are scarce. It is believed only 10% of clients are ready to experiment with VR. It takes time before any technology hits the big time. The more VR ads appear, the more widespread the technology becomes.

Everybody Knows about 360° Videos

In past years, users prefer 360° videos to regular videos. It’s because their quality is constantly increasing. Famous brands create these videos to captivate audiences throughout the world with unique experiences. Social networks have responded to this changing trend. More than three million subscribers enjoy virtual reality videos on one of the YouTube channels. YouTube has been providing heatmap reports on 360-degree videos since 2017. Facebook and Vimeo also gather data on 360° videos to show content creators what grabs users’ attention most.

The most detailed report was compiled by OmniVirt. According to it, 360-degree and VR videos are more engaging than regular content. Their quality is getting higher every day. The companies opting for 360° videos vary greatly. They understand to remain successful, they should use modern means of promotion. OmniVirt highlights to assess distribution channels, different metrics and KPIs are required. There are different ways to measure the metrics, which can increase distribution. In 2018, more users become aware of the endless possibilities of 360° and VR videos.

Business Increases Investments in Augmented Reality

AR isn’t regarded as one more technological innovation. It has become primary as more companies express their intentions to invest in the development of augmented reality software and hardware. They understand the benefits AR can bring to business. Quality augmented reality products offer both financial and promotional advantages. Caring about the future, companies aim to support the current development of AR and VR.

AR and VR Will Influence the Mobile Industry

It’s a well-known fact people are highly addicted to their phones. However, the sales of smartphones haven’t dramatically changed as it’s getting harder to surprise users. The integration of AR and VR features into smartphones can change this situation and increase the industry revenue.

These trends have transformed how people perceive AR and VR. While they can join virtual reality at affordable prices, companies consider VR and AR to be important assets of their marketing strategies. 2018 reflects important trends in VR and AR which improve these technologies and make them widespread in near future.