Consumers Still Cautious Of Virtual Reality Headset From The Likes Of Facebook And Sony

By Trey WilliamsMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Worldwide sales of augmented and virtual reality headsets continued to see significant growth through the first quarter of 2017, with a total of 2.3 million units shipped, according to data from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). And with new products scheduled to drop in the latter half of the year, IDC is forecasting triple-digit growth for the full year. While growth is certainly a positive for the burgeoning industry, especially as media companies are searching for new ways to engage viewers, data suggests that adoption of certain new products is still slow. More than 98% of the headsets shipped were virtual reality headsets, as opposed to augmented reality. And of those virtual reality headsets, two-thirds were devices that only work when a compatible phone is inserted, such as Samsung Electronics Co.'s Gear VR and Google Inc.'s Daydream View. Other, generally more expensive, headsets often used for gaming, such as the HTC Vive, Facebook Inc.'s Oculus Rift and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation VR, accounted for a third of the market. Still, augmented reality headset shipments saw a 77.4% year-over-year growth. Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC, said one of the problems is the content isn't meeting up with the hardware. "The VR market is still very young and consumers seem to be taking a cautious approach," he said. "With plenty of headset options already in the market and even more coming soon, hardware isn't the issue. The bigger challenge is the slow growth in content that appeals to a mass audience, combined with the confusion associated with a lack of cross-platform support."

Copyright © 2017 MarketWatch, Inc.

Continue Reading Below