Ikea Place, the home decorating chain’s mobile app that uses augmented reality (AR) to help people pick out furniture, ranked No. 2 among free apps that use Apple’s ARKit platform, ahead of dozens of gaming apps, Sensor Data show. ARKit app downloads more than quadrupled to 13 million in March from six months earlier, the researcher said.
Almost half (47%) of ARKit-only app downloads were in games category, followed by utilities (14%) and lifestyle (11%), which is how Ikea Place is categorized. In addition to Ikea Place, apps such as MeasureKit, Lego AR Studio, Giphy World and Paint Space AR were among the most downloaded since last year. Apps that added AR functionality in the past six months pushed the number of AR-compatible apps in the App Store to more than 2,000.
AR Dragon was the most popular ARKit-only free application, while CamToPlan Pro topped the paid charts for the October to March period. Sensor Tower defines “ARKit-only” apps as those primarily focused on the AR experience.
Ikea is among the early adopters of AR app technology for helping people decorate their homes, showing how first-movers on new technology have an opportunity to grab the attention of consumers. Apple last year showcased the Ikea Place app when it introduced the ARKit platform for its latest mobile operating system. The app lets shoppers place 3D virtual furniture in their home to check for color, look and size and help make a purchase decision. The app scales the virtual objects to 98% accuracy, which promises to help avoid the disappointment of buying and assembling furniture that only needs to be returned because it doesn't fit.
While Ikea's ranking among ARKit apps suggests it has caught the attention of consumers, there is little information to date on how well this and others apps are being received by consumers who do download them. In the months ahead, marketers will be looking to see if ARKit apps help drive conversions and are used repeatedly or if people stop using them once the novelty wears off.
Ikea Place last month added visual search technology from GrokStyle that lets people point their smartphone at a piece of furniture to search Ikea’s catalog for something similar, per TechCrunch. Visual search is becoming a more prominent feature in apps with Amazon, eBay, Google, Pinterest and Wayfair offering similar technologies.
It’s hard to imagine that Ikea Place will maintain its No. 2 position among free AR apps, if trends among other app categories are any guide. Ikea Place’s strong showing in the App Store is mostly an indication of the comparably small number of apps that have included AR features. A number of marketers have introduced AR apps this year, including several in the home furnishings category, meaning the competition for attention is likely to heat up.