3 Companies Leading the Way in Augmented Reality Retail

Stocks to buy

If you’re interested in finding AR retail stocks to add to your portfolio, look no further. Now is a great time to go shopping for e-commerce related stocks. The industry enjoyed a historic boom during the early days of the pandemic as customers were forced to order almost everything through digital channels. As brick-and-mortar reopened, growth slowed and stock prices slumped.

However, there’s little doubt that e-commerce will continue making major market share gains in the longer-term. And the next generation of that technology, augmented reality retail, could be a game-changer. Here are three AR retail stocks that could lead the transformation.

Unity (U)

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Unity (NYSE:U) operates a leading video game graphics engine. Along with rival Unreal, the two have dominant market share in providing graphics for today’s video games.

Developers appreciate Unity for its easy cross-platform operability. A developer can build a game for PC, for example, and easily port it to consoles, mobile, and even augmented and virtual reality. Unity has been a leader on the VR and AR front, and is the game engine powering well-known applications such as Pokemon Go.

Unity is now seeking to move beyond just video games. It is aiming to commercialize its graphics for architecture & design, real estate, and e-commerce among other functions. In a few years, Unity may be able help customers virtually try on clothes and accessories on a realistic VR model of themselves. There’s still a lot of R&D to making this a mass-market technology, but Unity should have a first-mover advantage in the AR retail stocks space.

In the meantime, Unity is shaping up nicely. The company has slashed costs and reached profitability, setting the company on a good trajectory for the long-term growth of 3D graphics and augmented reality.

Matterport (MTTR)

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Matterport (NASDAQ:MTTR) is a spatial data company. Specifically, it helps companies make digital models of real world locations.

A typical user might be a hotel or entertainment venue. It can make a detailed 3D model of its facility and let prospective clients do a digital walkthrough through the site in augmented reality. As the cameras and modeling technology improves, Matterport may be able to incorporate more interactive commerce features into these 3D-modeled real estate locations.

Matterport hasn’t reached profitability yet and has had something of a messy transition moving from a fixed licensing to subscription-based revenue model. But with $163 million in annualized run-rate revenues and more than 11 million spaces under management, Matterport has already built a sizable business and could be a real winner as AR retail and commerce take off.

Qualcomm (QCOM)

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An issue with investing in AR retail stocks is that a lot of the pureplays are smaller firms that are quite speculative. A company like Matterport could be a huge winner, but it could also fizzle out.

There is a way to square the circle, however. That is by investing in companies that have many irons in the fire, and thus provide investors multiple ways of profiting from a specific theme.

For augmented reality, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is quite active with its own solutions. Its Snapdragon computing platform powers tablets and other high-end mobile devices which can be used for VR and AR applications. Qualcomm’s 5G and forthcoming 6G technology power the data communications needed to run AR applications. And Qualcomm has intellectual property around other items such as machine vision and mobile AI which could prove instrumental in developing augmented reality solutions.

And that’s not all. Qualcomm is also an active investor in startups via its Qualcomm Ventures division. Active since the year 2000, it has invested in 360 different portfolio companies and been a part of 18 $1 billion+ exits. It is an investor in Matterport and several other companies involved in augmented reality technology.

On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in U and QCOM stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for InvestorPlace.com and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a $300 million New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.

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