Standalone VR headsets remain preferred, despite Apple’s Vision Pro requiring a wired connection to an external battery case.
Global extended reality (XR) headset shipments are projected to increase by a record 3.9 million units, indicative of a robust double-digit year-over-year (YoY) growth. The XR market, encompassing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), is poised for significant growth in 2024, driven by new product launches and technological advancements.
Apple is set to enter the XR market with its Vision Pro headset. Priced at $3,500, it’s expected to primarily attract a niche audience including Apple enthusiasts, developers, and enterprise users. Vision Pro will be on sale from February 2 with pre-bookings from January 19. Apple’s entry is generating significant consumer interest, potentially benefiting existing market players with more affordable offerings.
There’s a noticeable trend towards mixed reality (MR), according to a counterpoint report. This can be attributed to major players launching MR products or adding passthrough capabilities to existing VR headsets. Standalone VR headsets remain preferred, despite Apple’s Vision Pro requiring a wired connection to an external battery case.
AR is set to grow by 54% YoY in 2024, driven by products like XREAL’s Air 2 and Air 2 Pro AR Glasses, particularly in China. However, AR will still constitute a small percentage of overall XR shipments.
North America continues to lead XR shipments, with Meta headsets dominating the market with 70% of headsets shipping in the region. The release of Apple’s Vision Pro, initially exclusive to the US, is expected to further boost the region’s market share.
Europe’s XR market growth may lag behind North America due to slower adoption and limited content availability. The Asia-Pacific region benefits from launches like Sony’s PlayStation VR2, with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand showing strong performance.
Samsung is likely to re-enter the XR market with an MR headset, which, despite generating interest, may contribute less to global shipment growth due to its late-year launch. Pico, owned by ByteDance, might face challenges in recovering from the setbacks experienced with its Pico 4 headset in 2023. DPVR, strong in China’s education sector, might struggle to become a significant global player.
XR growth in China is expected to be sluggish due to several factors. Firstly, streaming as a use case for XR hasn’t gained significant traction. Stringent gaming regulations in the country are likely to impede the growth of XR in the gaming sector. Also, the segments where XR is currently popular in China, specifically education and enterprise, are considered niche markets.
With various key players like Apple, Samsung, Sony, and others, the XR market is becoming increasingly competitive, offering consumers a diverse range of products.