Worldwide Shipments of AR/VR Headsets Maintain Solid Growth According to IDC
The worldwide market for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets grew 25.5% year over year in the second quarter of 2017 (2Q17) as shipments reached 2.1 million, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker. Volumes declined slightly from the prior quarter, but recent price cuts on existing products and announced plans for new products are expected to lay the groundwork for a successful holiday season.
“Growth in the VR market has been rather sluggish compared to other recently introduced technologies as the amount of investment and, more importantly, the need for end user education is extremely high for VR,” said Jitesh Ubranisenior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Though the recent price cuts across all major platforms will help alleviate one of the barriers to adoption, providing consumers the opportunity to learn about products and try before they buy is still a significant hurdle faced by most companies.”
Virtual reality products once again made up more than 98% of shipments in the combined AR/VR market. On the VR side, screenless viewers accounted for over half of all the headset shipments during the quarter. Tethered VR headsets captured 43%, up from the 34% in the previous quarter, driven in large part to Sony’s ongoing success with the PlayStation VR and Oculus increasing shipment volumes thanks to price cuts. Meanwhile, in the still very small AR headset segment, shipments actually declined year over year as several consumer-focused products with big launches last year failed to sustain their volumes a year later. To date, the small but lucrative volume of success in AR headsets has been focused on the enterprise and that’s likely to continue for the near term.
“Consumer-focused AR headsets are still some way off, as most people will first experience AR through the screen on their phone,” said Tom Mainelli, vice president, Devices and AR/VR at IDC. “Now that Apple and Google are both focused on helping developers create AR experiences on their platforms—through ARKit for iOS and ARCore for Android—we can expect to see a flood of new AR apps appearing on smartphones later this year and into next. These developments should eventually lead to consumer-centric AR glasses, but that won’t happen in meaningful volume, at affordable price points, for some time.”
Samsung‘s dominance continued as the launch of the Galaxy S8/8+ helped drive shipments of the Gear VR, although the company did experience a significant year-over-year decline. The recent addition of a controller has improved the user experience and helped to drive a slightly higher average selling price (ASP). However, early signs suggest the company may not bundle its new Note-specific Gear VR with shipments of the upcoming Galaxy Note 8. Bundling has helped drive Samsung’s success to date and this means Note 8 consumers will need to actively seek and purchase the latest Gear VR. That could slow Samsung’s progress in this market.
Demand for Sony‘s PSVR remained unmatched amongst the top tier of tethered headsets. The launch of Farpoint along with the VR aim controller combined with some sustained demand for Resident Evil 7 boded well for Sony. Outside of gaming, Sony is also working on bringing other experiences to the VR platform by partnering with Hollywood creators. Despite its success, Sony still announced a modest price cut for the PSVR that should help drive sustained growth through the end of the year.
Facebook reduced the price of the Oculus from $599 to $499 during the quarter, which helped drive demand that saw it leapfrog rival HTC in terms of ranking. Facebook was the first among the major tethered players to cut prices and the company’s continued willingness to adjust prices and alter its retail strategy is clearly paying off.
TCL landed in the number four spot with its Alcatel VR headset. The company has increased the number of models with which the VR headset comes bundled, which means it continues to move significant volumes. A relatively weak platform and content ecosystem cast doubt on TCL’s long-term prospects in the VR market, but there is no denying the company has done a good job of putting headsets into customers’ hands.
Stiff competition led HTC Vive to drop in the ranks. However, the company managed flat growth over 2Q16 and captured 4.4% share during the current quarter. HTC is still one of the only major players successful at actively targeting the commercial VR market. On the consumer side, HTC recently announced a price reduction to $599, although that still leaves the headset priced well above rivals.
- The table represents shipments of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality headsets only. Any additional software, services, or compute devices (e.g. PC, game console, smartphone, etc.) are excluded.
- Shipments of simplistic headsets that do not have any technology built in are excluded. Examples of such headsets include Google Cardboard and other Cardboard-like devices.
In addition to the table above, a graphic illustrating worldwide shipments of AR and VR headsets, and average selling price (ASP) over the previous five quarters is available by viewing this press release on IDC.com.
About IDC Trackers
IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, company share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC’s Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools.
For more information about IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn.
All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.