Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are set to become a much more prominent market over the next year, with sales predicted to reach almost $12bn.
According to research from CCS Insights, 16 million VR and AR devices are expected to be shipped by the end of this year, with a year on year growth of 47% valuing the market at around $1.6bn.
The smartphone VR and AR sector is a growing market and estimated to make up around two thirds of the market value, estimated to account for over 13 million units of the 16 million in the market. Due to having a lower cost and wider availability, the sector dominates the market.
By 2021, CCS Insight’s forecast expects there to be $11.9bn worth of VR device sales and 99 million devices in total.
There are three prominent players in the industry, according to the findings, which include Facebook (Oculus) HTC (Vive) and Song (PlayStation VR). Together, the three are responsible for 3 million units this year and expected to produce 5 million in 2018.
CCS Insight analyst George Jijiashvili notes: “The expected growth is encouraging progress, but it has not all been plain sailing. The three biggest makers of dedicated VR headsets all cut their prices this year in an effort to boost sales and grab a bigger slice of the market.”
VR powered headsets by Microsoft, operated by companies such as Acer, Dell and HP will boost the market in the fourth quarter of 2017 which will enhance sales across the year in 2018.
Another large area of growth is AR. Big tech companies such as Apple, with its ARKit, and Google’s ARCore to Android Smartphones are both pushing developments in the AR field. Although AR is predominately optimized using Smartphone technology, CCS Insight’s forecast expects the current awareness to prompt interest in the next big thing AR smart glasses.
CCS Insight analyst George Jijiashvili notes, “AR experiences using a hand-held smartphone can only be a good thing for head-worn technology like AR glasses. It is only a matter of time before a big manufacturer offers a pair of smart glasses designed for consumers.
“We have a higher-volume scenario in the forecast based on a big company such as Amazon or Apple launching glasses. This could provide a huge lift to the segment in a similar way to Apple entering the smartwatch market”.