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Sales of VR and AR devices to exceed 10 million this year

Sales of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) devices are taking off, fuelled by both business and consumer interest, according to new research.

Global sales of extended reality devices are set to rise 45% to 10.7 million units in 2021, according to the latest forecast by technology market analyst firm CCS Insight. And with continued sales growth predicted over over the next five years, as many as 70 million units are expected to be sold in 2025.

“The market for VR and AR devices is growing, not despite the pandemic but thanks to it,” said Marina Koytcheva, vice president of forecasting at CCS Insight. “Economic uncertainty is persistently high, but we have identified good levels of interest in this technology at a time when physical distancing has become the norm. It allows people to keep themselves entertained and businesses to continue serving their customers amid operational challenges.”

Augmented Reality

Facebook’s success with the Oculus Quest 2 is the main driver of VR adoption in 2021, the analyst firm said.

“The Quest 2 has hit a sweet spot where an excellent experience meets an attractive price,” explained Leo Gebbie, senior analyst for extended reality at CCS Insight. “Its all-in-one design means that no other devices are needed, and above all, the headset is affordable enough to attract new customers to the technology, including both gaming enthusiasts and more-casual users. Facebook’s extensive advertising reach and deep pockets help as well, warding off rivals that can’t afford to sell their products at the same price.”

At the same time, growing numbers of businesses are looking at extended reality as part of their digital transformation in the wake of the pandemic. Companies that started using VR and AR for tasks like remote assistance are increasingly looking to expand its use to other applications, such as product development and training.

New offerings such as AR smart glasses are also expected to grow in popularity over the coming years, with as many as 15 million such devices sold in 2025.

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