Global shipments of augmented and virtual reality headsets took off in the first quarter of 2017, hitting a total of 2.3 million units, new data from International Data Corporation (IDC) indicates. And the figure is only expected to continue growing.
VR reportedly dominated shipments in the first three months of the year, accounting for 98 percent of all headsets shipped. About two-thirds of those were screenless viewers like Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s new Daydream View. Tethered headsets – including the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Sony PSVR – made up the other third of market shipments.
Samsung reportedly cranked out 489,500 shipments in the quarter, snagging 21.5 percent market share. Sony followed with 429,000 shipments, while HTC and Facebook rounded out the top four with 190,900 shipments and 99,300 units shipped, respectively. Google didn’t make the top five AR/VR headset companies by shipments in the first quarter, but IHS Markit recently predicted Daydream View sales will jump from 120,000 in 2016 to 2.23 million this year.
All told, IDC’s AR totals marked a 77.4 percent increase in shipments year over year. Growth is expected to continue throughout the year – possibly even hitting the triple digits – thanks to a substantial slate of new products scheduled to ship in the second half of 2017. Greenlight Insights in April forecasted head-mounted VR displays will bring in $4.7 billion in revenue in 2017.
So what’s stopping a complete VR/AR takeover? Content.
“The VR market is still very young and consumers seem to be taking a cautious approach,” Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, commented. “With plenty of headset options already in the market and even more coming soon, hardware isn’t the issue. The bigger challenge is the slow growth in content that appeals to a mass audience, combined with the confusion associated with a lack of cross-platform support.”