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Forecast: VR headset market expected to recover in 2021

September 17, 2020

As the world continues to deal with the pandemic, the market for virtual reality (VR) headsets is expected to decline 6.7 per cent in 2020 before returning to double-digit growth of 46.2 per cent in 2021, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker.

The market has faced a temporary setback this year as supply chain disruptions impacted volumes in the early months and expected product transitions have slowed the market mid-year. However, IDC expects shipments of VR headsets to grow rapidly with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48 per cent from 2020 to 2024 as consumer and enterprise audiences continue to invest in the technology. Virtual reality is starting to mature and reach a broader audience.

“While gaming remains at the forefront of consumer VR, other use cases such as virtual concerts and virtual workouts are also starting to resonate with buyers,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Meanwhile, many enterprises continue to ramp up their use of VR with training, collaboration, design, and manufacturing use cases driving momentum. We expect the commercial segment to grow from 38 per cent of the worldwide market in 2020 to 53 per cent by 2024.”

“We’re seeing increased interest in VR from both consumer and commercial buyers,” said Tom Mainelli, group vice president, Device & Consumer Research at IDC. “However, a confluence of events made for a tough first half of 2020 in terms of headset unit volumes, even as demand increased. We expect a sizeable increase in shipment volume during the second half of this year as production ramps up and new products launch into the market, and VR should see a return to robust growth in 2021.”

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