Spending on VR and AR to double this year

AR spending is set to surge ahead after 2018 as it finds its place within industry

Worldwide spending on virtual and augmented reality technology could reach $13.9 billion (11.2 billion) in 2017, jumping almost 131% over last year's figures, according to recent research by the IDC.

In an update to its Worldwide Semiannual Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide, the IDC expects the technology to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 198% during the 2015-2020 period, raking in over $143 billion.

As a comparison, spending on VR and AR in 2016 reached just $6.1 billion.

The largest portion of this growth will come from the consumer market, with spending on hardware and software set to reach $6.2 billion this year. Although VR started as a crowd-funded project with the Oculus Rift, consumers are now able to take advantage of a vast array of different products from leading technology and entertainment companies.

Unsurprisingly, industry will lag behind in spending as businesses continue to explore new applications of the technology. The biggest uptake is expected within the manufacturing and retail sectors, the only industries set to exceed $1 billion on VR and AR this year. Online retail outlets alone may sink almost $462 million into the technology, providing a way for users to experience select products using AR through a website.

By the end of the forecast period, transportation is expected to be the fastest growing sector at 233.7% CAGR, closely followed by healthcare at 231.8%.

"At this stage, to make the transition to a robust technology spending environment, third-party custom application development and systems integration will fill a vital role in bringing projects to life," said Marcus Torchia, research director at IDC's Customer Insights and Analysis.

"We expect initial AR spending to lean on mobile workforce-based use cases, where AR headsets are a natural enhancement to existing mobility investments. And we will see education, research and design applications form a foundation of adoption in professional environments," added Torchia.

Gaming and entertainment will see spending on VR headsets outpace that of AR during 2017 and 2018. But after this period, the research expects AR spending to surge ahead as the technology finds a firm place within industry, particularly within healthcare. 

Although VR has found limited success outside the commercial space, in areas such as education and architecture, AR is proving massively more popular within industry. Following our hands-on demo of Microsoft's Hololens, we can safely say the technology provides a promising tool for improving business productivity. 

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

HTC Vive Focus 3 review: The future of VR is here
peripherals

HTC Vive Focus 3 review: The future of VR is here

30 Jul 2021
The IT Pro Podcast: Can VR unite the hybrid workplace?
Technology

The IT Pro Podcast: Can VR unite the hybrid workplace?

2 Jul 2021
HTC launches new business-focused VR headsets
Hardware

HTC launches new business-focused VR headsets

11 May 2021
IDC releases its IT industry predictions for 2021 and beyond
Business

IDC releases its IT industry predictions for 2021 and beyond

28 Oct 2020

Most Popular

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Network & Internet

HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

15 Oct 2021