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VR and AR device sales ‘to hit $11.9bn in 2021’

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) device sales are set to hit $11.9bn in four years time.

According to CCS Insight’s recent forecasts, the market value of devices sold into the channel is estimated to be worth $1.6bn with some 16 million VR and AR devices set to be shipped this year.

The data suggests that smartphone VR and AR devices will account for more than 13 million units, while dedicated VR devices such as the Oculus Rift will represent approximately two thirds of this $1.6bn market value.

Interestingly, though, the forecast revealed 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. These products are expected to provide a boost to the market in the fourth quarter of 2017 and create a strong foundation for sales next year.

CCS Insight analyst George Jijiashvili noted: “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 forecast predicts that VR is showing considerably more potential in the Chinese market due to the growing interest in the technology from tech giants such as Alibaba – which has offered shopping via virtual reality – and Tencent, which is due to launch its own VR headset. The existence of a strong gaming community in the Asian nation is also tied to a rise in growing VR interest.

Jijiashvili added: “So far, many people have bought VR devices for gaming, but other material, including sports, film, TV and pornography, is now playing a bigger role in the market’s growth.”

AR in numbers

Augmented Reality is another promising area identified by CCS Insight, with the latest forecast providing an optimistic outlook for AR glasses.

Apple’s commitment to the technology on iPhones through its ARKit platform and the advent of Google’s ARCore to Android smartphones are also big factors in this. Although these platforms are only available on smartphones, CCS Insight says they will help to drive increased consumer awareness of AR and thus generate a boost to the smart glasses market.

Jijiashvili said: “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.”

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