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Can augmented reality (A.R.) experiences positively impact the environment, and provide significant sustainability benefit?

It’s an angle that you may not have considered, but advancing A.R. experiences do indeed hold the potential to drive positive environmental benefits, which can also enhance adoption and experience among consumers.

That’s the finding of Snapchat’s latest survey report, conducted in partnership with Alter Agents, for which Snap commissioned a survey of 7, 500 people from across France, India, Saudi Arabia, the U.K., and the U.S., to glean more insight into how people view the sustainability potential of A.R., and what that may mean for their own interest and engagement in such experiences.

So what does Snap mean by “sustainability benefits” in this context?

It’s provided a few examples:

  • Enabling people to try beauty products virtually, leading to fewer returns (and thus reduced carbon emissions from deliveries, reduced waste packaging, etc.)
  • Visualizing food portions at restaurants to lessen food waste
  • Giving prospective customers sustainability info on products, so that they can make more environmentally conscious purchase decisions
  • Enabling automotive customers to customize vehicles in A.R. before purchase, streamlining delivery processes (and reducing carbon emissions)
  • Running virtual events, so that people can experience them from home, reducing real world waste

In isolation, each of these elements is likely fairly minor, but on a broader scale, you can see how increased A.R. adoption, in a range of ways, could have an impact.

And with Snap being a leader in the A.R. space, that, in turn, means that Snapchat itself can have a more positive impact, if more people use it.

How much of an impact?

To provide some scope on the potential, the study looks at how many people would utilize A.R. more based on these stated benefits.

The study also found that with these benefits in mind, customers would also be willing to pay more for enhanced A.R. options.

Snapchat AR sustainability study

Of course, that’s also somewhat relative to the quality of the A.R. experience. But conceptually at least, many people would factor these elements in mind when looking to make a purchase.

Which could make A.R. a more appealing consideration, for many more brands, and with Snapchat’s A.R. creation tools always evolving, there are now many valuable, viable A.R. experiences that would indeed deliver significant benefits, both for experience and in broader impact terms.

It’s an interesting consideration, which could see more companies lean into A.R. even more in future. Though that was likely to happen either way, with the coming arrival of A.R. glasses and enhanced experiences in A.R. and V.R. environments.

But maybe, now is the time where we start to see things shift, and more brands will make a move towards these new platforms to facilitate more experiences.

You can read Snapchat’s full study results here.

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