Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) continue to evolve and are gaining traction among consumers and businesses. Research firm IDC forecast in November 2019 that worldwide spending on VR and AR is on track to reach $18.8 billion this year. However, these two extended reality (XR), immersive technologies are growing at different rates and for different reasons. This report provides our latest forecasts for VR and AR users in the US and examines some market dynamics shaping their maturation.
How many people in the US will use virtual and augmented reality in 2020?
We anticipate that 52.1 million people will use VR and 83.1 million will use AR at least once per month in 2020. This represents 15.7% and 25.0% of the population, respectively.
How are this year’s forecasts different from last year’s?
This year’s forecasts track closely with last year’s and don’t reflect any significant changes to expected growth. We have only made slight revisions to the numbers of AR and VR users to reflect changing market dynamics. However, we continue to closely monitor the market and assess any long-term impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic may cause.
What’s driving user growth for AR and VR?
The use of both technologies is growing, but different forces drive their uptake. VR growth is being propelled by advances in hardware, including higher-quality, lower-cost headsets. AR growth is being fueled by software development and the creation of standardized platforms on which to create new applications.
How will the introduction of 5G cellular connectivity affect the growth of VR and AR?
Faster and more advanced cellular networks, including 5G, are poised to improve VR and AR experiences and create a larger potential market for cloud-based streaming applications (rather than relying on PCs or on-device processors). This is also expected to result in more affordable headsets and higher-quality content.
WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes our 2018-2022 forecasts for VR and AR users in the US and an analysis of the forces shaping the growth of these technologies.
KEY STAT: This year, 52.1 million people in the US will use VR, and 83.1 million people will use AR at least once per month.
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