Samsung, Sony lead as 2.3M AR/VR headsets ship in Q1: IDC study

Samsung VR headset
The firm is anticipating triple-digit growth for the market this year thanks to the long list of new products scheduled to ship in the second half of 2017.

Samsung and Sony helped push total global shipments of AR and VR headsets to 2.3 million during the first quarter, according to IDC.

The firm is anticipating triple-digit growth for the market this year thanks to the long list of new products scheduled to ship in the second half of 2017.

IDC said that VR headsets represented about 98% of the total headset shipments, and of those VR headsets about two-thirds were display-less models like Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream.

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"The VR market is still very young and consumers seem to be taking a cautious approach," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. "With plenty of headset options already in the market and even more coming soon, hardware isn't the issue. The bigger challenge is the slow growth in content that appeals to a mass audience, combined with the confusion associated with a lack of cross-platform support."

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Samsung led the way last quarter with about 490,000 units shipped, good enough for 21.5% of the global AR/VR market. Sony, which has only been shipping its VR headset for two quarters, was not far behind. The company shipped 429,000 units during the quarter, capturing 18.8% of the market. Behind them was HTC’s Vive shipping about 191,000 units, Facebook’s Oculus shipping 99,300 units, TCL shipping 91,300 units and other companies shipping a combined 980,000 units.

Although quarterly shipments were well down from the 3.85 million AR/VR headsets that shipped during the holiday quarter, the quarter was way up over the 1.35 million units that shipped in the first quarter of 2016.

The growth during the quarter for AR/VR headset shipments falls in line with predictions IDC made earlier this year about long-term acceleration for the market. The firm anticipates total headset device shipments will reach 99.4 million units in 2021, up almost 10x over 2016, and good enough for a compound annual growth rate of 58% across the five-year forecast period.

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