Market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) has released a new report that projects the total global spending on virtual and augmented reality technologies to grow from $11.4 billion in 2017 to approximately $215 billion in 2021, largely thanks to the consumer sector. According to the report, the increase in spending translates to an annual growth of 113.2 percent over the next four years.
By region, the largest portion of spending on AR and VR systems this year will come from the United States, which is expected to invest $3.2 billion in this segment. Consumers in other sectors in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, are also projected to spend a total of $3 billion on AR and VR products, making the region the second largest source of revenues for the segment, followed by Western Europe, where spending is expected to reach $2 billion over the same period. IDC also said the sectors that will provide the largest revenues to AR and VR tech in the United States and Western Europe this year, in addition to the consumer sector, include discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing. However, those sectors, along with the government, retail, construction, transportation, and professional services are likely to surpass the consumer sector in the United States as the major spenders on AR and VR over the next four years.
Tom Mainelli, program vice president for devices and AR/VR tech at IDC, said that augmented and virtual reality products are continuously improving their performance in the commercial sector, adding that this trend is expected to go on in the foreseeable future. Companies that have devoted huge resources to the AR and VR space include Intel, Facebook, and HTC, with the social networking giant being at the forefront of the VR race with its growing interest in acquiring more companies in this segment. The Menlo Park, California-based firm has even recently launched the Facebook Spaces social VR app and hinted that it's looking to deliver more related software solutions in the coming months. Other companies that have been exploring the AR and VR space for a while now include Qualcomm, Lenovo, and HTC, among others.