The market analysts at IDC have now reiterated a claim made earlier this year predicting that the AR and VR market is poised for growth through 2022. The estimate comes in spite of a relatively negative start to 2018, which saw shipments drop by no less than 30.5-percent year-over-year in the first quarter. That equates to approximately 1.2 million fewer VR or AR headsets over that timeframe. However, the earlier estimate was set at around 12.4 million units, which is a 48.5-percent annual increase over the course of 2018. Predicted growth leading through the year 2022 was set at around 68.9 million total units. The new estimate is more conservative, with expectations set at an increase of just 6-percent from the prior year for 2018 and a total of 65.9 million units.
For VR, that growth is expected to be fueled by an increase in the availability of low-cost alternatives to PC-tethered experiences. Namely, the company points to headsets made by Facebook's Oculus division, such as the Oculus Go, and competing hardware offered by other firms. Although there are still problems to be solved with regard to display resolution and motion sickness, the more budget-friendly nature of those devices is speculated to spur the market forward. The incremental improvements made to those types of headsets in terms of convenience will compound on top of that draw to consumers. AR's growth is predicted to start somewhat slower but IDC points out that it is already becoming a mainstay in screened technology such as smartphones. What's more, unscreened experiences like Lenovo's Star Wars-branded AR experience are already gaining traction as well. A much wider market availability of headsets that don't require a smartphone should provide a boost to the market in 2019. That will be driven by innovations from companies such as Magic Leap and Microsoft, in addition to new competitors. In fact, the report suggests that between 2019 and 2021, growth could skyrocket into triple-digits.
With regard to challenges, the new report highlights the importance of developers to the two platforms' growth. The experiences created for each platform will be the primary reason for consumers to invest in the technology. As such, it will need to showcase the strengths and innovations brought by those at both the general consumer and business or enterprise levels.