Project Management Institute

Enhanced Existence

Augmented Reality Is Getting Increasingly Real

Augmented reality (AR) is getting increasingly real. Thanks to the ubiquity of social media and smartphones, more consumers have access to AR than ever before—though they may not realize it. At the same time, it's also gaining ground as an essential workplace tool for tasks as varied as training pilots and aiding surgeons. In October, Instagram rolled out additional advanced advertising options allowing retailers to offer consumers an AR-enabled “try on” option.

The rise of 5G is one factor fueling the fire for AR development projects. The speed and connectivity made possible by this next generation of mobile networks will allow robust AR applications to run smoother and faster.

Market Snapshot

1 billion

Expected number of AR users by 2020

US$85 billion

Estimated AR market by 2025


Analysts argue that AR's ability to overlay useful information on real-world scenarios gives it an edge over its tech cousin, virtual reality (VR), which favors a virtual world.


70% of technology leaders anticipate that the AR market will soon surpass the VR market in revenue.


49% anticipate this will happen within 3-5 years.

68.7 million

The number of U.S. residents who used AR at least monthly in 2019, compared to 42.9 million who used VR


1. North America

2. Europe

3. Asia Pacific


Tech leaders expect these industries to see the greatest investment growth in AR and VR in the near future.


54% Gaming


43% Healthcare and medical devices


36% Education


28% Military and defense


20% Manufacturing and automotive


48% of consumers say they'd be more likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes AR.

32% of retailers are expected to use AR by 2021.


Ikea's Place app


Sponsor Perspective

Executives weigh in on how augmented reality (AR) might give their industries a big boost.


“Southeast Asia boasts a very tech-savvy millennial audience and increasingly affluent consumers who aspire to all things luxury. With the right mix of AR technology and consumer demand, the possibilities are endless.”

—Bob Chua, BlinQ, to Forbes


“It will help everyone benefit from the power of the digital economy. It allows us to redefine computer literacy—we can adapt the computer to the way we think and want to work.”

—Tipatat Chennavasin, Venture Reality Fund, to Perkins Coie


“This is definitely not a game anymore. These tools present a historic opportunity to transform medicine and patient care.”

—Amitabh Varshney, PhD, University of Maryland's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, to NBC

More Than Meets the Eye

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