IDC has revealed its outlook for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets for the remainder of 2022 and beyond.
Research found that global shipments for AR and VR headsets will decline by 12.8% in 2022, dropping to 9.7 million units.
However, IDC says growth is expected to return in 2023 as shipments are forecast to jump 31.5% year over year.
According to new data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker, sustained growth of more than 30% is also forecast for the next several years culminating in 35.1 million units shipped in 2026.
When looking at companies that operate within the market, IDC says Meta has long dominated the industry due to the reasonably priced Quest 2, which has captured 84.6% of the global AR/VR headset market during the first three quarters of 2022.
The next closest competitor listed was ByteDance's Pico, with 7.4% share over the same period. The top five list is rounded out by DPVR (1.8%), HTC (1.1%), and iQIYI (0.9%). However, IDC says each of these companies will face challenges next year as Sony's next-generation headset launches and Apple also enters the market.
"With the Quest 2 price increase and premium pricing expected for the PSVR2 and Apple's headset, consumers will likely be more reticent with their spend in the near term," says Jitesh Ubrani, research manager, Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers at IDC.
"However, commercial growth will outpace the consumer segment in the coming years as businesses deploy VR headsets for training and other use cases and as new headsets begin to bleed into the AR territory by offering pass-through capabilities."
IDC says that AR, on the other hand, is facing another round of challenges as large brands such as Shadow Creator, Mad Gaze, and even Microsoft have struggled to sustain growth.
While challenges will occur, IDC also says this will create opportunities for next-generation headsets as well as new competitors to enter the AR market, although this is likely to happen in 2024 at the earliest and 2025 in earnest.
Ramon T. Llamas, Research Director, Mobile Devices and AR/VR at IDC, says AR will become more advanced and sophisticated, leading to a more seamless transition and wider utilisations across the board.
"Augmented reality has long been the domain of standalone headsets geared towards commercial use, helping to transform the way companies train their workers," he says.
"While these have been sophisticated in their use, the form factor has sometimes been a challenge within certain work environments. Looking ahead, we expect AR headsets to resemble and feel like more conventional eyewear and still maintain C or even surpass C the experience currently offered today."