Ten million AR & VR headsets sold in 2016, says IDC

New IDC Tracker following market for augmented and virtual reality headsets

Tags: Augmented realityIDC Middle East and AfricaVirtual reality
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Ten million AR & VR headsets sold in 2016, says IDC IDC's new tracker is covering AR and VR headsets such as Microsoft's HoloLens.
By  Mark Sutton Published  December 16, 2016

IDC is predicting that the market for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets will grow to 76 million units by 2020.

The analyst company expects a CAGR of 108.3% in the market from 2015 to 2020, with the majority of sales in VR headsets. For this year, IDC says that shipments of VR headsets will pass ten million, reaching 10.1m units, while AR headsets will only sell around 100,000 units. Total shipments will be 10.3m.

Cheaper VR headsets will remain more popular, although IDC expects AR headsets to pick up momentum over the forecast period as more affordable technologies and more OEMs enter the market.

The company has launched a new Tracker service, the Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker, to focus on the market. Three categories of headsets and covered by the tracker, screenless viewers, such as Samsung's Gear VR; tethered head-mounted displays (HMDs), such as the HTC Vive; and standalone HMDs, such as Microsoft's HoloLens.

"IDC's Tracker research programs have long proven to be the industry standard for market sizing and forecasting," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "It is with great pleasure that we are now able to publish a robust database covering the AR and VR headset markets. The teams have been working on AR and VR technologies for over two years, so being able to finally bring the results to our clients is truly gratifying."

"2016 has been a defining year for AR as millions of consumers were introduced to Pokemon Go and, on the commercial side, developers and businesses finally got their hands on coveted headsets like Microsoft's HoloLens," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "AR may just be on track to create a shift in computing significant enough to rival the smartphone. However, the technology is still in its infancy and has a long runway ahead before reaching mass adoption."

"Augmented reality represents the larger long-term opportunity, but for the near term virtual reality will capture the lion's share of shipments and media attention," said Tom Mainelli, program vice president, Devices & AR/VR. "This year we saw major VR product launches from key players such as Oculus, HTC, Sony, Samsung, and Google. In the next 12 months, we'll see a growing number of hardware vendors enter the space with products that cover the gamut from simple screenless viewers to tethered HMDs to standalone HMDs. The AR/VR headset market promises to be an exciting space to watch."

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