Worldwide augmented reality and virtual reality revenues are set to soar in the coming years, according to new International Data Corporation (IDC) figures.The IDC has found that worldwide revenues for the AR/VR market will grow from US$5.2 billion this year to more than US$162 billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 181.3 per cent, 2015-2020.
“For many years augmented and virtual reality were the stuff of science fiction,” Chris Chute, IDC vice president, customer insights and analysis, commented. “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.”
Tom Mainelli, IDC vice president, devices & AR/VR, noted that the emergence of less expensive hardware will deliver greater AR and VR accessibility.
“But, as always, what people can do with that hardware will depend upon the applications and services that power it,” he stated. “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.”
AR/VR hardware sales will generate more than 50 per cent of worldwide revenues throughout the forecast period, according to the IDC, while software revenues will grow more than 200 per cent year-on-year in 2016, yet are set to be quickly overtaken by services revenues in the forecast’s middle years, as logistics and manufacturing demand enterprise-class support.
Revenues for VR systems are forecast to be greater than AR-related revenues this year and next, largely due to consumer uptake of games and paid content, while AR revenues are forecast to surge ahead after 2017, “hitting critical mass in healthcare delivery and product design and management-related use cases”.
The Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ), the United States and Western Europe will account for three quarters of worldwide AR/VR revenues, generating comparable revenue amounts this year, while by 2020, the IDC forecasts the United States will “pull well ahead of the other two regions”.
With AR/VR tech still in the early stages of adoption, the IDC expects every region to see more than 100 per cent annual growth throughout the forecast period.