Global AR/VR Revenues To Eclipse $162B in 2020: IDC

Another forecast believes that there will be some significant financial substance to go along with all the hype around virtual reality and augmented reality.

Worldwide revenues for the AR and VR market will surge from $5.2 billion in 2016 to north of $162 billion in 2020, predicted International Data Corp. (IDC) a new report/forecast.

In that report – the Worldwide Semiannual Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide – IDC sees AR/VR generating a compound annual growth rate 181.3% over the 2015-2020 forecast period.

IDC expects sales of AR/VR hardware to generate more than 50% of worldwide revenues during that span, and sees the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), the U.S. and Western Europe accounting for 75% of worldwide the sector’s revenues.

IDC’s forecast arrives seven months after Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini issued a report predicting that VR and AR could generate up to $182 billion in revenue, including hardware and software/content, by 2025, and eclipse television revenue.

IDC noted that the pairing of high-powered smartphones with headsets (something that Google is pursuing hard with its new Android-based Daydream project) are poised to drive the market forward to the masses.

"For many years augmented and virtual reality were the stuff of science fiction. Now with powerful smartphones powering inexpensive VR headsets, the consumer market is primed for new paid and user generated content-driven experiences,” Chris Chute, VP, customer insights and analysis at IDC, said in a statement.

"The rise of new, less expensive hardware will put virtual and augmented reality technology within the grasp of a growing numbers of companies and individuals," added Tom Mainelli, VP, devices & AR/VR at IDC. "But, as always, what people can do with that hardware will depend upon the applications and services that power it. In the coming years, we expect developers to create a wide range of new experiences for these devices that will fundamentally change the way many of us do work."