It is predicted that by 2020 there will be 1 billion augmented reality users, all expecting instant access to information and experiential customer experiences. As part of our 2020 Events Disruptor Report, I have explored the ways organisations need to adapt to ensure their digital commerce platform meets the needs of our hyper-connected world.

The impact that the millennial generation has on technological advancements goes far beyond usability and customer experience. They are also defining new ways in which we interact with technology. In their hyper-connected world, they expect instant access to information and products which solve their problems immediately. This, paired with their experiential expectations, means it’s no surprise that we’ve seen advancements in areas such as voice search, augmented reality and visual intelligence over the last five years which show no indication of slowing down.
Let’s take the example of shopping for a new sofa through the eyes of a tech-savvy millennial. Traditionally, one may navigate to Google and type in a short search about the style and colour of sofa you are looking for. You would shortlist some retailers and probably dedicate some time at the weekend to view the sofas in person, having taken some very detailed measurements of the room in which it will sit.
This is a millennials worst nightmare.

45% of millennial customers would start their search in a different way. With their prolific mobile browsing and shopping habits, a large percentage of annual Google searches are mobile with 12% attributed to voice search. A further 13% of annual Google searches were conducted via a speaker product such as Amazon’s Alexa. Voice search is on track to reach 99% accuracy by the end of 2020, with WordStream estimating that 50% of all mobile searches will be made via voice by the end of the year.
So, let’s assume that the millennial in question has conducted a voice search and has then landed on After spending some time shortlisting potential sofas, the Ikea app enables our millennial shopper to entirely remove the need to physically go to the store. Using Apple’s technology, the app allows them to scan a room and digitally position pieces of furniture within it, enabling their customers to visualise their potential purchase in situ. Ikea’s Place app is a perfect example of how businesses are harnessing AR technology to improve their digital customer experience and capture the attention of the millennial generation.

By 2020 it was predicted that users of augmented reality would generate $16.8 billion in annual revenue

According to Statista, there will be 1 billion AR users by 2020, generating an astounding $16.8 billion in annual revenue. Whether that’s dialling into a meeting from home, using Google Street View or browsing a property using a virtual tour these are all examples of augmented reality that have permeated daily life.
Always keen to find the best price possible, this millennial’s sofa purchase is not quite complete. From here, they’d like to check that they can’t find a cheaper alternative, so they navigate back to Google, this time making use of their image search. Dropping the image of the sofa into Google, its visual intelligence system will return products that look similar to the sofa from Ikea. In fact, according to Visenze, 62% of millennials prefer visual search over any other technology and Gartner suggests that early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30% by 2021.

Our 2020 Events Disruptor Report is a collection of articles that explore how and when the emerging trends in technology impact the events industry. To read the full report click here.

Read more about Machine Learning and AI in our blog titled Artificial Intelligence and the Events Industry and the latest edition of CEO Corner; My 2020 Prediction: AI will transform the Events Industry.

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