Sales of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets are estimated to reach 100 million by 2021, a tenfold improvement on the 10 million shipments recorded last year.
That the forecast from research firm IDC, which said VR headsets that use smartphones, like Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream VR, are currently the most popular.
IDC expects VR headsets to remain the dominant seller for the next five years, but customers may start to move towards more powerful headsets, like the Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR.
“The next six to 18 months will further stimulate the VR market as PC vendors, along with Microsoft, introduce tethered headsets and high-end standalone VR headsets also enter the market,” said senior research analyst, Jitesh Ubrani.
Augmented reality will see some interest, but not enough to break through to the mainstream market. Part of the reason is that it’s hard to build hardware and experiences for AR that customers will want to use, as shown by the bad reception Google Glass got after the initial hype.
“It is very clear to us that augmented reality is the larger of the two plays here when looking at AR and VR combined,” said program vice president, Ryan Reith. “Companies like Microsoft, Epson, Intel, Meta, ODG, and DAQRI are already providing devices that are being deployed in real-time commercial projects with significant return on investment.”
IDC projects over 80 percent of all AR shipments in the next five years to be for commercial use. It sees a definite benefit for industrial workers, which could start to be adapted before the end of 2017. We have already seen a few developers that are bringing AR to factories and construction sites.