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Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) headsets returned to growth in Q1 2019 after a year of decline, International Data Corporation (IDC) has reported.

Global shipments reached 1.3 million headsets, up 27.2% from the same quarter last year.

This growth is due to a surge in shipments of standalone and tethered HMDs, according to IDC’s quarterly AR and VR headset tracker, such as recent releases the Oculus Quest and Rift S.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s mobile device trackers, commented: “Facebook has promised to bring VR to the masses and it took its latest steps toward realising this vision with new standalone and tethered headset releases during the quarter.”

“The company’s new $399 standalone Oculus Quest began shipping this quarter and has enjoyed positive reviews, and its new Rift S offers an updated take on its pioneering tethered headset. These products, along with other new offerings from companies such as HTC and Valve, should position the VR market for solid growth through the rest of the year.”

VR headsets represented 96.6% of the combined market during Q1, and while AR market volumes remain low, there is clear momentum, according to IDC.

Top AR headset makers during Q1 2019 included Epson, Lenovo, Vuzix, Google, and RealWear.

Tom Mainelli, group vice president for consumer and devices research at IDC, commented: “Enterprise AR is evolving quickly and many companies are actively looking for hardware solutions they can use to improve existing business processes and drive new ones.”

“Vendors shipping robust, ready-to-use products today are seeing increased traction and we expect their volumes to increase notably through the rest of this year. We have also seen new product announcements from players large and small that should help drive increased momentum and shipments when these products begin shipping later this year.”

IDC expects the growth trend established in Q1 to continue as global shipments for AR/VR headsets are forecast to reach 7.6 million units in 2019, up from 5.9 million in 2018.

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