Worldwide revenue for AR and VR to boom


Consumer market is primed for new paid and user generated content-driven experiences

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will see worldwide market growth up from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 181.3% over the 2015 to 2020 forecast period, according to IDC.

“For many years augmented and virtual reality were the stuff of science fiction. Now with powerful smartphones powering inexpensive VR headsets, the consumer market is primed for new paid and user generated content-driven experiences. Recent developments in healthcare demonstrated the powerful impact augmented reality headsets can have at the industry level, and over the next five years we expect to see that promise become realised in other fields like education, logistics, and manufacturing,” Chris Chute, IDC vice president, customer insights and analysis, said.

Added IDC’s Tom Mainelli, vice president, devices, AR and VR: “The rise of new, less expensive hardware will put VR and AR technology within the grasp of a growing numbers of companies and individuals. But, as always, what people can do with that hardware will depend upon the applications and services that power it. In the coming years, we expect developers to create a wide range of new experiences for these devices that will fundamentally change the way many of us do work.”

Sales of AR and VR hardware will generate more than 50% of worldwide revenues throughout the forecast period. AR and VR software revenues will also get off to a quick start, growing more than 200% year over year in 2016, but will quickly be overtaken by services revenues in the middle years of the forecast, as logistics and manufacturing demand enterprise-class support, said IDC.

Revenues for VR systems, including viewers, software, consulting services and systems integration services, are forecast to be greater than AR-related revenues in 2016 and 2017, largely due to consumer uptake of games and paid content. After 2017, noted IDC, AR revenues will surge ahead, hitting critical mass in healthcare delivery and product design and management-related use cases.

From a regional perspective, Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), the US, and Western Europe will account for three quarters of worldwide AR and VR revenues. The three regions will generate comparable revenue amounts in 2016, but the US is forecast to pull well ahead of the other two regions by 2020.

Because AR and VR technology is still in the early stages of adoption, every region is expected to see annual growth of more than 100% throughout the forecast period, noted IDC.


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