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VR and AR shipments returning to growth in 2018

New IDC report anticipates the market growing by 48.5 per cent year-on-year in 2018 to 12.4 million units

Virtual and augmented reality headset shipments will return to growth in 2018 and reach 68.9 million units globally in 2022, according to a new report by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The findings reveal that despite the VR and AR headset market retreating in 2017 – primarily due to a decline in shipments in screenless VR viewers – it will grow by 48.5 per cent year-on-year in 2018 to 12.4 million units.

According to the report, the screenless category of mobile phone viewers is set to be gradually overtaken in marketshare by standalone and tethered devices, with new vendors, devices, use-cases, and business models starting to emerge.

“While there’s no doubt that VR suffered some setbacks in 2017, companies such as Google and Facebook continue to push hard toward making the technology more consumer friendly,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice president, devices and AR/VR research.

IDC estimates that while standalone and tethered VR devices were the minority of headsets shipped in 2017, they will account for 85.7 per cent of total shipments by 2022. Meanwhile, screenless AR viewers are expected to peak in 2019 as standalone and tethered products become more widely available at lower prices.

“There has been a maturation of content and delivery as top-tier content providers enter the AR and VR space,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Meanwhile, on the hardware side, numerous vendors are experimenting with new financing options and different revenue models to make the headsets, along with the accompanying hardware and software, more accessible to consumers and enterprises alike.”

VR devices such as Facebook’s Oculus Go, HTC’s Vive Pro, and Lenovo’s Mirage Solo with Daydream are all due to ship in the coming months, while Magic Leap’s mixed reality headset, Magic Leap One, is scheduled to launch later this year.