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Reality-bending headset shipments could reach 100 million by 2021

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The number of augmented and virtual reality headsets shipped out to stores around the world could total as many as 100 million by 2021, according to new research from the International Data Corporation (IDC). This comes from an expected compound growth rate in shipments of almost 60 percent year-on-year from now until then.

The IDC is an American market research organization with a strong history of correct predictions behind it. In looking at the virtual and augmented reality industries as they stand, it believes that there will be a lot of growth in the years to come, culminating in the shipment of many millions of headsets by the turn of the next decade.

“While there was clear demand coming primarily from technology enthusiasts [in 2016],” the IDC said in its report, “what became readily apparent were the use cases for enterprise users across multiple verticals and for consumers with gaming and content consumption. This sets the stage for the multiple aspects of the market that device makers, platforms, and content providers, and developers will be addressing in the months and years to come.”

What’s most interesting about the IDC report however, is how it sees the shift in ownership of headsets taking place over the next few years. As it stands, it cites a near 80-percent share of the headset market for consumers, but suggests that that will change a lot over the coming years. By 2021, it believes the split will be more like a 38-percent to 62-percent split between commercial and consumer ownership, respectively.

The report also highlighted how, even though it has lumped together augmented and virtual reality headsets in its report, AR has a minority share of the market right now. As it stands, it suggests that the AR industry is worth around $210 million, while VR is closer to $2.1 billion.

The firm believes that will change massively over the next few years, though. By 2021, the IDC claims that the AR industry could be worth as much as $48.7 billion, much more than the suggested $18.6 billion it expects VR to be worth, despite what it claims will be a still-firm grip on the reality-bending industry.

To illustrate all of this data, the IDC also created an interactive chart to show how things are set to change in the years to come:

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