Report: Virtual Reality Headset Shipments to Hit 30 Million by 2020

Sep 17, 2015 8:15 AM PST

HAMPSHIRE, U.K. — New findings from leading hi-tech analysts, Juniper Research, reveal that wearable VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) headset shipments will approach 30 million globally by 2020.

Contrast this figure with the projected 3 million HMD shipments expected in 2016, as these new devices come to the consumer market.

According to Juniper Research, technological advancements such as low latency and smarter graphics, coupled with the corresponding growth in interest from major players, mean that VR is now in a position where the market can finally take off, with the firm explaining that “The [VR] technology is now poised to transform the entertainment industry, including gaming and video, over coming years whilst offering the potential to quickly expand into other markets such as industrial and healthcare.”

Despite industry predictions, adult content was not cited as a likely growth area.

Calling 2016 “a watershed year for VR,” Juniper’s latest Insights research report, “Virtual Reality: Market Dynamics & Future Prospects 2015-2020,” identifies 2016 as the year that virtual reality headset product launches and consumer roll outs gain traction — naming Oculus, Sony, and HTC as among those leading players expected to launch key VR products during the next 12 months.

“The recent attention to and investment into Virtual Reality is helping to revitalize the industry,” says report co-author Joe Crabtree. “With major brand commercial launches imminent, there is huge potential for rapid market expansion.”

As a result, Juniper expects significant VR uptake over the forecast period; as consumers benefit from a combination of improved VR technology, a slate of immersive applications, and reduced hardware costs.

This growth does not come without challenges, however, with the report noting that developments in user interaction with the virtual environment will have a major impact on the success of VR products.

“While the current systems being developed will revolve around a stereophonic headset and a variety of controllers similar or identical to the current gaming devices,” Crabtree adds, “improving the immersive aspects of the experience will remain a challenge.”

Other key findings in the report include identifying the Far East and China as being poised for increased development and production activities, driven by a sharp rise in consumer demand, which is expected to be centered on video and gaming applications. The report also notes that hardware retail revenue from VR HMD headset sales will exceed $4 billion by 2020.

The complimentary whitepaper, “The Rise of Virtual Reality,” is now available.

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