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article imageAugmented and virtual reality spending to double each year

By James Walker     Aug 5, 2017 in Technology
Worldwide sales of augmented and virtual reality products are expected to at least double each year until 2021. Analysts predict the market will be worth over $215 billion within four years as the sector moves past consumers to business transformation.
The competition to create compelling augmented and virtual reality experiences will increase significantly by the end of the decade, market analysts IDC reported today. Headset manufacturers will be trying to earn their share of a rapidly expanding market for AR and VR products. IDC expects total spending in the industry to balloon from $11.4 billion this year to $215 billion by 2021.
Sales of consumer devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are currently the biggest drivers of overall spending. This isn't anticipated to change over the four year period but there will be significant growth in commercial use of the technologies. As businesses race to digitally transform, industrial adoption of AR and VR will explode.
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Retail, manufacturing, training and safety will dominate industry use cases of VR in 2017. Collectively, they'll account for $1.1 billion of spending. By 2021, VR and AR will be used primarily for maintenance of industry and public infrastructure, with retail holding on in a strong third place. Total spending across the top three sectors will increase to $12 billion.
"Augmented and virtual reality are gaining traction in commercial settings and we expect this trend will continue to accelerate," said Tom Mainelli, program vice president of IDC Devices and AR/VR. "As next-generation hardware begins to appear, industry verticals will be among the first to embrace it. They will be utilizing cutting-edge software and services to do everything from increase worker productivity and safety to entice customers with customized, jaw-dropping experiences."
Virtual and augmented reality is one of the fastest growing areas of tech as it becomes an important part of digital transformation strategies. It's previously been largely constrained to consumer use, signalled by an influx of AR-powered apps like Pokémon Go and Snapchat. Increasingly, it's businesses that are the most interested in its applications though, seeing it as a way to access new customers and reform legacy business processes.
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Alongside digital reality technologies, other similar head-mounted devices are seeing use in the workplace too. The new Google Glass has already delivered impressive productivity breakthroughs in several major U.S. factories.
As businesses come to realise how technology can increase their efficiency, it's to be expected that sales of devices will increase. IDC put the industry compound annual growth rate at 113.2%, signalling exceptional growth into the start of the next decade. With sales more than doubling every year, the boom time is coming for headset manufacturers.
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