You know what I am like with stories like these, but I also like numbers, so…

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality device sales are set to hit $11.9 Billion and 99 Million devices in 2021, according to CCS Insight’s latest annual virtual and augmented reality forecast.

With massive growth expected in the industry, the forecast reveals that:

  • 16 million virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices are set be shipped in 2017, representing year-on-year growth of 47 percent. The market value of devices sold into the channel is estimated to be $1.6 billion.
  • Smartphone VR and AR devices will account for more than 13 million units; dedicated VR devices like the Oculus Rift will account for about two-thirds of this $1.6 billion market value.
  • Increased support for Google’s Daydream platform and the arrival of Microsoft’s mixed reality headsets will boost the market from the final quarter of 2017 onward.

The forecast also points to the expansion of the Chinese market and the optimistic outlook for AR glasses.

Smartphone-based VR and AR devices continue to dominate the market thanks to their lower cost and wider availability. CCS Insight expects them to account for 13 million units of the 16 million total VR and AR devices shipped in 2017. Dedicated VR products, most of which come from the three biggest players — Facebook (Oculus), HTC (Vive) and Sony (PlayStation VR) — will account for 3 million units this year, rising to 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.”

The research firm highlighted the effects of Microsoft-powered headsets from companies such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo as well as greater support for Google’s Daydream platform. It expects these products to provide a boost to the market in the fourth quarter of 2017 and create a strong foundation for sales in 2018.

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”.

In addition to this new consumer opportunity, CCS Insight believes that despite slower than expected growth in AR glasses for specific business uses such as warehousing and field service, there are numerous trials underway, with several companies planning to step up usage of AR glasses.

Nifty stuff! More to follow soon.

Tom Ffiske
@thomasffiske_VR
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