The IDC report said that shipments reached 2.1 million in Q2, down slightly sequentially, but up compared to a year earlier.
It also said it that recent price cuts on existing products and planned new product releases are expected to “lay the groundwork for a successful holiday season”.
“Growth in the VR market has been rather sluggish compared to other recently introduced technologies as the amount of investment and, more importantly, the need for end user education is extremely high for VR,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers.
“Though the recent price cuts across all major platforms will help alleviate one of the barriers to adoption, providing consumers the opportunity to learn about products and try before they buy is still a significant hurdle faced by most companies.”
IDC said that VR headset shipments accounted for more than 98% of shipments in the combined AR/VR market, with the AR headset segment declining year-on-year as several consumer-focused products that launched last year failed to sustain their volumes.
According to IDC, AR headsets are likely to remain focused on the enterprise market in the near term. In the VR space, it said that tethered VR headsets captured 43% of the headset market in Q2 thanks to the success of the PlayStation VR and price cuts to the Oculus.
“Consumer-focused AR headsets are still some way off, as most people will first experience AR through the screen on their phone,” said Tom Mainelli, vice president, devices and AR/VR at IDC.
“Now that Apple and Google are both focused on helping developers create AR experiences on their platforms — through ARKit for iOS and ARCore for Android — we can expect to see a flood of new AR apps appearing on smartphones later this year and into next. These developments should eventually lead to consumer-centric AR glasses, but that won’t happen in meaningful volume, at affordable price points, for some time.”
Last month, IDC predicted that overall revenues for the VR and AR market would increase by 100% or more over each of the next four years on a global level.
The Worldwide Semiannual Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide forecast that total spend AR/VR products and services will grow from US$11.4 billion in 2017 to nearly US$215 billion 2021, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 113.2%.