Virtual Reality Headsets See Explosive Growth

Virtual reality headsets grew more than 50% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year, according to a new report. Facebook, which has owned Oculus since 2014, was one of the key driving factors.

According to information released by market research firm IDC, shipments of VR headsets grew 52.4% in Q1 2021. For the year, IDC is forecasting somewhat lower growth as a result of component shortages impacting all areas of technology. For the year, IDC predicted headset shipments of about 7.15 million, with compound annual growth through 2025 anticipated at 41.4%. Headset shipments are expected to hit 28.6 million units in 2025.

"Oculus has single-handedly driven growth in the market as the company managed to capture almost two thirds share of global VR headset shipments during the quarter," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers, in a prepared statement. "While the company currently dominates the consumer segment it faces competition in the commercial segment and its lack of presence in China leaves an opportunity for local brands as well as brands that can cater to businesses."

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker: “Standalone headsets, which feature an all-encompassing design such as the Oculus Quest 2 or the HTC Vive Focus, accounted for the vast majority of shipments, capturing 82.7% share during the quarter, up from 50.5% in the first quarter of 2020. The growing popularity of gaming, as well as fitness, has helped spread consumer awareness of VR, while companies like Facebook have made the tech more accessible.”

Tom Mainelli, group vice president, Device & Consumer Research at IDC, said VR is playing an increasingly important role in “driving next-generation collaboration, training, and digital events."

Further details can be found on IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

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