Shipments of augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) headsets are predicted to reach 8.9 million units this year, as users prepare to adopt immersive technology en masse early in the next decade.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker predicts shipments to reach 68.6 million in 2023.
VR headsets will dominate shipments, IDC predicts, with makers shifting 36.7 million units around the world by 2023. Standalones, tethered head-mounted displays and screenless viewers will account for 59%, 37.4% and 3.6%, respectively.
AR headsets will reach 31.9 million units in 2023, with standalones again dominating sales.
“New headsets from brands such as Oculus, HTC, Microsoft, and others will help fuel the growth in 2019 and beyond,” commented Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s mobile device trackers. “However, it’s not just new products from headset makers that will drive the AR/VR market forward. Qualcomm’s latest silicon is also expected to play a major role in enabling hardware partners and providing network connectivity for content creators.”
IDC also predicts the commercial segment to play a leading role in the mass adoption of AR and VR headsets.
Approximately two-thirds of all headsets are expected to be shipped into the commercial segment in 2023, as many AR headsets and a significant portion of VR headsets will cater to this audience.
“Some of the early movers in the VR space have wisely moved to embrace commercial use cases for the technology as they wait for more consumer-centric experiences beyond gaming and video to materialise,” said Tom Mainelli, group vice president of devices and AR/VR at IDC.
“The augmented reality side of the headset business has been largely enterprise-focused from the start, with a few notable exceptions, and we expect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future as most consumers in the near term will experience AR through their smartphone or tablet.”