Framingham, MA—International Data Corporation (IDC) reports the combined augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) headset market grew 9.4% year over year in the third quarter of 2018. The findings are based on IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker.
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q 2018 after four consecutive quarters of decline. It now makes up 97% of the combined market, according to IDC. Global shipments for VR headsets reached 1.9 million units in the quarter, up 8.2% from 3Q 2017. The research firm believes extensive discounts on existing products and interest in new ones led to shipment gains in both the consumer and commercial markets.
“The VR market is finally starting to come into its own,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “On the consumer front, the combination of lower prices and increased content is beginning to resonate with users. Meanwhile, commercial adoption is also on the rise for a range of use cases, including training, design and showcasing.”
VR Headset Market Details
During 3Q 2018, viewers without screens, such as Samsung’s Gear VR, declined 58.6% as product discounts and availability dried up. Moreover, some of Samsung’s latest phones further exaggerate the issue as they are not compatible with the current version of the headset, noted Ubrani. Besides Samsung, other prominent brands such as Google and Alcatel also scaled back their efforts.
However, stand-alone headsets grew 428.6%, accounting for 20.6% of the VR headset market. Facebook’s Oculus Go and Xiaomi’s Mi VR—the same headset shipped into different markets by the two companies—together shipped nearly a quarter million headsets worldwide.
In addition, tethered VR headsets surpassed one million units for the second time ever, making 3Q 2018 the best third quarter on record. Sony shipped 463,000 PSVR headsets during the quarter. Oculus followed with 300,000 and HTC with 230,000.
Moreover, Oculus was the top vendor in the overall VR headset market. This was due to the popularity of the Go and Rift, capturing 25.9% of the entire VR market. Total Oculus shipments were 491,000 during the quarter, excluding the Xiaomi Mi VR.
AR Headsets on the Rise
In addition, IDC found that AR headsets did well during the quarter. Lenovo captured the top spot with 23,000 headsets shipped. Most of that volume was the consumer-oriented Star Wars Jedi Challenges headset.
When excluding that headset, the research indicates that the AR headset market grew 1.1% over the previous year. Brands such as Vuzix and Epson fueled the growth. Though Microsoft’s Hololens was still one of the most popular AR headsets, growth has slowed. IDC believes customers are awaiting the next generation headset that is expected to launch in 2019.“The VR market is entering a new stage of maturity; companies are setting aside the unrealistic expectations around explosive market growth and are focused instead on building more sustainable businesses,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice president, Devices and Augmented and Virtual Reality, IDC.
“With regards to AR, hardware growth remains modest, but we see strong interest in the technology from many companies. We expect new hardware shipping in 2019, from both established players and new ones, to help move the industry beyond proof of concepts and pilots into larger deployments.”
IDC is a global provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets.
The company’s IDC Tracker products provide market size and vendor share. It also forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries globally. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC’s Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly and monthly basis. In addition, results are delivered to clients in excel deliverables and online query tools.