We will buy 97 million VR headsets and AR smartglasses in 2020, out of a total of 441 million wearables sold that year. That’s according to CCS Insight’s latest wearable tech forecast which sees big things ahead for virtual and augmented reality.
In the near(er) future, CCS Insight predicts that 13 million smartphone VR headsets, such as the Samsung Gear VR and View-Master DLX VR, will be sold by the end of 2016. That’s out of a total of 15 million headgear units, presumably the other 2 million accounts for early adopters of high end, more expensive headsets such as Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR.
Money wise, this is on track to translate to a $1 billion business in dedicated VR this year. By the time we get to the much bigger sales predicted for 2020, CCS reckons VR hardware sales will be worth $14.5 billion.
“Given the rising consumer apathy toward smartphones, it is little wonder so many companies are chasing the rapidly growing opportunity presented by wearables,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS. “We’re particularly excited about the potential for augmented and virtual reality devices, and we predict 2016 will be a pivotal year.”
Smartwatches, trackers and wearable cameras
A related trend is that of 360 degree cameras, wearable or otherwise. Samsung is rumoured to be bringing a Gear 360 camera to MWC and Wood sees this “see what I see” trend proving popular for the likes of Facebook and Oculus.
Wearable camera sales are set to grow from 14 million units this year to 25 million units in 2020, oh which 3.3 million will shoot 360 degree footage, while other growing categories include hearables (9 million units predicted for 2020) and smart jewellery, tokens and clip-ons (4 million units).
The big business, though, remains firmly in fitness trackers, smartwatches and smartphone companions. From 61 million activity and health trackers sold by the end of 2016, CCS predicts this will rise to 187 million in 2020.
With smartwatches, this will see a big increase from 33 million to 122 million units sold in 2020, resulting in a value of $11.4 billion that year.
CCS Insight’s forecast also included some interesting tidbits about 2015. It estimates that Apple only sold 9 million units of the Apple Watch and that one in three wearables sold last year was sold in China thanks to the success of the Xiaomi Mi Band and strong smartwatch sales there.
Agree? Disagree? What will be your next wearable? Let us know in the comments below or on the Wareable Forum.