Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are on the precipice of rapid expansion as global revenues for the AR/VR market are projected to increase by at least 100% over the next four years, according to a recent report from IDC.
Moreover, total spending on AR/VR products and services is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 113% to reach $215 billion in 2021, up from $11 billion in 2017. The rapid growth is in part due to the significant investments and innovations led by tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, including tools, platforms, and services, as they seek to lead the adoption of the next big computing platform.
The US will likely be the dominant region in terms of total spending in AR/VR with an estimated $3 billion in 2017. And although the US is expected to pioneer initial growth in the space, the regions that will experience the fastest growth through the five-year period are Canada, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the US at annualized growth rates of 145%, 133%, 121%, and 120%, respectively.
Increasing demand for the nascent technology could have rippling effects across numerous industries. In particular, there are three segments projected to catalyze AR and VR investment and adoption.
- * The largest industry use cases for AR and VR in 2017 will be related to product showcasing in the retail segment. The retail industry will invest $422 million in AR and VR. Retailers could use AR technology to enable users to utilize their cameras to overlay digital representations of products onto rooms in their homes, or VR to show products in a store catalog, for example.
- * Manufacturing, which includes discrete and process manufacturing, will see significant growth in 2017. The manufacturing segment will invest $309 million in AR and VR during the year. AR can assist in the maintenance of equipment — for instance, viewing a machine’s status simply by looking at it via an AR display can help service technicians visualize and identify problems ahead of the job.
- * AR and VR games will largely influence the consumer segment. This segment was among the first to be impacted by the introduction of AR and VR. By 2021, total spending in the consumer segment is forecast to reach $9.5 billion.
Although retail, consumer, and manufacturing segments are expected to heat up first, the study finds that other segments including government, transportation, health care, and education will soon follow suit. This adoption across industries is expected to speed up as the underlying tech continues to evolve, which will give developers and companies the ability to better craft immersive experiences for the enterprise and consumers alike.
- * Identifies the major players in today's VR hardware and platform markets.
- * Estimates future growth of each of the major VR categories.
- * Explores barriers to mass market consumer adoption for each of the VR hardware categories.
- * Considers how developer sentiment is driving the growth of various platforms.
- * Assesses how the market will shake out over the next five years in terms of size and the success of various VR hardware categories.