Meta Quest 2 fuels comeback for VR in 2021

The VR/AR market saw a dramatic increase in shipments in 2021, as Meta’s low-cost Quest 2 headset saw mainstream adoption.

According to IDC, the worldwide market for augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets grew 92.1% year over year in 2021. Shipments reached 11.2 million units, with half of that total coming in Q4.

The report notes that the market has seen similar volumes of shipments since 2016 when Samsung’s Gear VR dominated the low-cost VR headset market and Sony launched its PlayStation VR headset.

The Meta Quest 2 headset made up 78% of the combined AR/VR shipments in 2021. This was followed by the DPVR which captured a 5.1% share globally and has proved popular in the Asian market. Also successful in Asia were ByteDance’s Pico VR products which were third with a 4.5% share.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, said: “Meta has led the AR/VR industry by offering a very accessibly priced headset and by moving beyond the core gaming audience, piquing the interest of non-gamers as well as businesses. 

“The company still lacks major competitors though that will likely change over the course of the next twelve to 18 months when Sony will re-enter the space with the PSVR2, and we continue to expect headsets from the likes of Apple and other smartphone vendors to eventually launch and garner a lot of attention from end users.”

The research firm expects new products from the aforementioned companies will see shipments increase by 46.9% year over year in 2022. The market, it said, will experience double-digit growth through 2026 as global shipments of AR/VR headsets surpass 50 million units.

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