IDC has now released its latest data findings which look to not only shed light on the current number of AR and VR headsets shipped within the second-quarter of 2017, but also on how the main manufacturers behind the latest AR and VR headset technology compare against each other. In particular, the figures detail that during the last quarter, Samsung managed to maintain its lead over the likes of Sony, Facebook and HTC – at least, when it comes to the number of units shipped.
In terms of the hard numbers, the IDC notes that Samsung saw shipments of 568 thousand units in Q2, 2017. This equated to an overall market share of 26.7-percent. However, in spite of Sony's option being considerably more expensive, Sony were relatively close behind Samsung with 519.4 thousand shipments during the same period. A figure which equated to 24.4-percent of the overall market share for the quarter. Behind Sony was Facebook, who by comparison, shipped less than half of that shipped by Sony or Samsung, with Facebook's Q2 figure coming in at 246.9 thousand. Equating to an 11.6-percent market share. While TCL came in fourth with 106.4 thousand (a 5-percent market share) and HTC is fifth place with 94.5 thousand (a 4.4-percent market share). Interestingly, while Samsung dominated as the single biggest contributor, it was the 'Others' who ranked the highest overall, with the collective selection of other headsets seeing shipments of 594.8 thousand. Representing a 27.9-percent market share.
There are some things to note here about these results. First off, and as already mentioned, there is a price factor in play here which very likely does have an effect to some degree. Samsung's VR options for instance, are considerably cheaper than that of Sony, Facebook, and HTC (excluding the cost of a compatible smartphone). So it is likely to be less surprising to see the more expensive options (HTC and Facebook) not selling quite as well as those from Sony or Samsung. Likewise, these figures also do not take into consideration what IDC refers to as 'simplistic headsets' – products defined as lacking built-in technology. Google Cardboard being a prime and the most obvious example. So while these figures do represent current shipments for AR and VR-related hardware, they only do so for the more premium selection of products. By not taking into account lesser (or at least, less-evolved) headsets, the results do not necessarily represent interest in the AR and VR as whole. On a separate note, the second image below highlights that in spite of sales holding strong, and the quality of hardware improving, the overall number of headsets shipped was only slightly up compared to Q2 of 2016. As well as representing a fall in the number of units compared to Q1 2017, and significantly so when compared to Q4 of 2016. Although the latter of which is to be expected with Q4 representing the gifting season. While the Q2 drop compared to Q1 is only slight, Q1 itself was down from the likes of Q3 2016. Suggesting that at present interested in premium AR and VR headsets is not quite moving in a continuously upwards trajectory. In spite of this, the long-term outlook for the AR and VR market is looking positive, with IDC also recently predicting that AR and VR spending will increase substantially over the next four years.