Global VR Hardware Revenues to Reach $3.6B in 2017: Forecast

Virtual reality hardware is poised to hit $3.6 billion in 2017, and surge to $37.7 billion by 2020, SuperData Research predicts in a new consumer report focused on the emerging sector.

The firm, which sees hardware to outpace VR software sales until 2020, expects VR software/service revenues to reach almost $1 billion this year.

The study also predicts that 21 million “premium” VR headsets will ship this year, more than tripling 2016’s totals, while 59 million “light” mobile VR headsets will ship in 2017, versus 84 million in 2016. A recent study from Strategy Analytics also found that mobile VR platforms are still way out in front, but represent a small share of overall VR revenues.

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SuperData Research, which puts Google Daydream in the “premium” category, expects 6.8 million of those devices to get into consumer hands this year.

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And while retail demos are the most popular way U.S. consumers get interested in VR before buying products, “poorly managed” demos and people with little knowledge of those products is having the opposite effect by causing friction and lowering adoption and interest.

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On the augmented realty (AR) end of the market, Pokémon Go earned 96% of all AR software revenue in 2016, the research firm said.

SuperData Research also predicts that Mixed Reality and AR will earn a combined $30.4 billion in 2020, and that MR devices will eventually overtake VR revenues.