- International Data Corp. forecasts a 196.4% compound annual growth rate for augmented reality headsets over the next five years compared to 100.7% for virtual reality headsets, as outlined in a company press release.
- More affordable VR devices will lead the market in terms of volume with 61 million units expected to be shipped in 2020 compared to 15 million for AR headsets, with momentum expected to pick up for the latter as more affordable technologies become available.
- "AR may just be on track to create a shift in computing significant enough to rival the smartphone," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, in the release. "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 right now, virtual reality will continue to capture more shipments and a greater portion of media attention, per IDC. This means marketers should start preparing now to understand AR and how consumers are engaging with it.
Pokemon Go and Microsoft HoloLens are two key examples of AR currently in the market. The ability to create interactive experiences that integrate the real and digital worlds has proven captivating for consumers and holds significant potential to be integrated throughout their day. VR, in comparison, is a very immersive technology currently used mainly for viewing purposes.
On the hardware side of AR/VR tech, 2016 has definitely been a breakout year with product launches from Oculus, Sony, Samsung and Google. IDC expects more hardware vendors to enter the space over the next few years with products ranging from screenless viewers to tethered head-mounted displays (HMDs) to standalone HMDs.