Spending on augmented and virtual reality to soar in coming years

Total spending on AR/VR products and services to rise from €9.7bn to nearly €184bn

Consumer spending will account for the lion’s share of AR/VR revenues in all regions this year

Consumer spending will account for the lion’s share of AR/VR revenues in all regions this year


Worldwide revenues for the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market are set to jump 100 per cent or more over each of the next four years, according to a new forecast.

Research firm IDC said it expects total spending on such products and services to increase from $11.4 billion this year to nearly $215 billion by 2021, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 113.2 per cent along the way.

The US will lead the way with total spending of $3.2 billion this year, followed by Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) on $3.2 billion. Spending on AR and VR in western Europe is forecast to hit $2 billion in 2017.

The region that will experience the fastest revenue growth over the 2016-2021 forecast period is Canada at 145.2 per cent compound annual growth rate. It is followed by central and eastern Europe, western Europe and the US.

Consumer spending will account for the lion’s share of such revenues in all regions this year.

“The consumer, retail, and manufacturing segments will be the early leaders in AR and VR investment and adoption. However, as we see in the regions, other segments like government, transportation, and education will utilise the transformative capabilities of these technologies,” said Marcus Torchia, research director of IDC customer insights and analysis.

“With use cases that span both AR and VR environments, we see a significant opportunity for companies to recast how users interact in business processes and everyday tasks,” he added.

IDC said the largest industry use cases this year will be retail showcasing ($442 million), on-site assembly and safety ($362 million), and process manufacturing training ($309 million). By the end of 2021, however, the largest industry use cases in terms will be industrial maintenance ($5.2 billion) and public infrastructure maintenance ($3.6 billion), followed by retail showcasing ($3.2 billion).

The consumer segment will be dominated by AR and VR games throughout the forecast, with total spending reaching $9.5 billion in 2021.