The International Data Corporation (IDC) is forecasting an increase of over 100% per annum in the market for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products and services over the coming four years. The latest IDC figures show worldwide revenue in this sector rising from $11.4 billion in 2017 to $215 billion in 2021. On a regional breakdown, the United States will be out in the lead with $3.2 billion this year, followed by Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) with $3 billion and Western Europe with 2 billion. A key point in the IDC forecast is that a broader range of industry sectors will be stepping up their spending on AR/VR. Marcus Torchia, Research Director at IDC Customer Insights & Analysis, reveals that "the consumer, retail and manufacturing segments will be the early leaders in AR and VR investment and adoption." However, other sectors – especially transport, education, government and health – will also rapidly start to make use of these technologies. Underlines Marcus Torchia: "We see a significant opportunity for companies to re-cast how users interact in business processes and everyday tasks" by using either AR or VR techniques. Not to mention the potential of these technologies – augmented reality in particular – to shape the way we communicate with each other going forward.
By Laura Frémy