Data: Google Cardboard Leader In 2016 VR Headset Shipments


More than 30 million VR headsets shipped in 2016, according to the latest data coming in from Strategy Analytics. Which does indicate that the market is growing, albeit at a slow rate. However, what is equally as interesting is that Strategy Analytics highlights that the 30 million units shipped came through 6 competing VR platforms. A point which Strategy Analytics suggests is indicitive of the VR market already becoming "an increasingly fragmented landscape."

The latest data comes as part of a new report from Strategy Analytics, entitled "VR Headset Platform Market Share Year End 2016". As the title suggests, the purpose of this report was to provide a clear overview of how the VR market is shaping up at the close of 2016. As part of that analysis, Strategy Analytics looked at how the six major platforms performed during the year and the results indicate that there are some clear winners when it comes to the number of shipped units. For instance, Strategy Analytics found that the Google Cardboard platform was the clear majority leader with a 2016 shipment market share of 69-percent. The next closest platform was Samsung's Gear VR which managed to claim a respectable 17-percent. Following which, the rest of the competing platforms saw drastically lower levels of shipped units, with Sony's PS VR claiming 3-percent, the HTC Vive platform occupying 1-percent and Oculus Rift claiming less than 1-percent. Google's newer VR initiative, Daydream, was noted at less than 0.1-percent of shipped units, while the "Others" category collectively accounted for 9-percent of total shipped units in 2016.

Of course, while these figures do clearly suggest that there is momentum in Google's Cardboard and Samsung's Gear VR, it is important to factor in the cost of these units. Generally speaking, the level of units shipped does seem to negatively correlate quite conveniently with price. The HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift headsets are the most expensive units on the market, while Sony's PS VR is slightly cheaper and even more cheaper is Samsung's Gear VR. While Google Cardboard is by far the most affordable solution detailed in this report. Likewise, while Daydream seems to be doing poorly, this was the latest arrival on this scene as the headset and platform launched towards the very tail end of 2016. In addition, it is also worth keeping in mind that units shipped does not automatically equate to revenue generated. For instance, Strategy Analytics found that in spite of a dominant market share, Google Cardboard only accounted for a 12-percent revenue share. In contrast, the Samsung Gear VR platform which was second by units shipped, accounted for a significant 35-percent revenue share. Further adding that Samsung and Sony combined, accounted for over half of the total revenue generated from VR hardware in 2016. So there are many ways in which this information could be interpreted. Although collectively, the implications seem good for the industry as whole, with the exception of course, of the fragmentation suggestions.


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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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