AR and VR headsets to see short-term Covid-19 decline – but IDC notes positive long-term outlook

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IDC has forecast a decrease in augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) device shipments in the first half of 2020 due to supply chain disruptions caused by the recent Covid-19 outbreak – but says the long-term landscape is strong.

According to IDC, a decline of 10.5% is expected on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter, followed by a 24.1% decrease in the second quarter. However, a bounce back is expected in the second half of 2020, considering gradual production increase by mid-2020 that will account for total shipments of about 7.1 million units for the year, which is a 23.6% hike from 2019. The long-term growth is expected to be strong throughout the forecast period, with shipments growing to 76.7 million units in 2024, at a CAGR of 81.5%.

“Interest in VR within the enterprise continues to ramp up as more companies use the technology to drive a wide range of training scenarios,” said Tom Mainelli, group vice president for IDC consumer and devices research. “Beyond the typical examples around training people for jobs that involve expensive equipment or dangerous situations, we’re seeing a notable uptick in interest using VR for soft skills training from line of business managers.

“On the AR side of things, more industry verticals are looking to leverage the technology to help address challenges in knowledge capture and transfer as a growing percentage of key employees begin to age out of the workforce,” Mainelli added.

VR and AR technologies are being seen by industry optimists as a key tool to help the home working and videoconferencing enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, NexTech AR Solutions signed a letter of intent to acquire interactive video solutions provider Jolokia in an all-stock transaction. As corporate meetings and events are happening online these days by medium of web conferencing tools, NexTech has developed a technique to incorporate 3D photo realistic holograms of people and products these virtual events via its ARitize App.

Last December, CCS Insight predicted that the market for AR/VR devices would grow to 21 per cent in 2019 to just over 10 million devices. According to CCS Insight, the variety of VR devices is growing and it expects new products in 2020 from HTC, Oculus, among others. This also includes the highly anticipated Sony PlayStation 5, which is widely expected to be accompanied by an updated PlayStation VR headset.

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One comment on “AR and VR headsets to see short-term Covid-19 decline – but IDC notes positive long-term outlook

  1. Matteo on

    If VR was just a little more mature than the current state, I think people would really be turning to it during this period of isolation. I’m confident it will still take off in the future, but an event like this could really have moved it into the consumer spotlight if the technology was ready.


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