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ABI Research Predicts VR HMD Shipments Should Hit 110 Million by 2021

With standalone devices making up a large majority.

This week ABI Research released findings from its Augmented and Virtual Reality Devices and Enterprise Verticals report, forecasting that between 2015 and 2021 the total amount of virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs) shipped will hit 110 million. 

Headsets such as Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard are already in their millions, dwarfing the higher end devices of Oculus, HTC and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), due to their cost and mobile design. While many industry professionals see the future of VR in mobile, ABI Research only predicts a 42 percent CAGR for mobile. Instead the market research company expects to see standalone devices hitting 405 percent CAGR through 2021.


These are devices such as the recently revealed Pico Neo CV, which don’t require an external PC and compatible smartphone, having all the components built in to reduce costs and increase ease of use. This type of headset is starting to grow in the Asian market, especially popular with Chinese companies.

“Mobile VR built a solid foundation for the overall market over the past few years, but standalone VR devices will eventually drive it,” says Eric Abbruzzese, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “Low cost and high accessibility has, and will continue to, drive VR adoption with mobile devices and associated VR accessories. However, a trend toward standalone devices is surfacing, and will continue over the next five years until mobile and standalone VR devices see parity in terms of shipments.”

Due to this expected influx of standalone VR headset, broadening the gaming-focused VR market, ABI Research anticipates a total market size of $64 billion USD by 2021.

“The three primary VR device types—mobile, standalone, and tethered—are entering the market with unique value propositions, target audiences, and use case support,” says Sam Rosen, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “However, there is the less understood market of mixed reality on the horizon. MR incorporates elements of augmented reality to VR devices, as evident in Intel’s Alloy reference design. Associated machine vision technology like RealSense or Google’s Tango opens a compelling AR/VR hybrid opportunity on the mobile platform. Taking the best of both AR and VR will open up the enterprise market further, and will enable entirely new use cases and applications not yet conceived.”

360-degree video, education, and tourism are also expected to see significant growth, as well, just not as large as the gaming market. For the latest market predictions, keep reading VRFocus.

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