The virtual and augmented reality market is set for a new wave of growth despite "dissapointingly low" sales of smart glasses, according to analyst house CCS Insight.
CCS Insight claims that 22 million virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets will be sold this year, worth $1.8bn in annual sales, a figure that will grow to 121 million units and $9.9bn in sales in the next five years.
The VR and AR device market is expected to enjoy an average annual growth rate of 50 per cent over the next five years as a result, claims the market watcher.
"Virtual reality headsets have been the main source of growth in unit sales to date, and we expect this will continue, particularly headsets that use a smartphone. However, we expect standalone headsets such as the Oculus Go and HTC Vive Focus to ignite a new wave of growth that will help broaden the appeal of virtual reality, particularly with businesses and in education," said George Jijiashvili, senior wearables analyst at CCS Insight.
Despite continued buoyant growth in VR headsets sales, and an AR market that is seeing "billions of dollars" of investment, smart glasses have failed to pique the interest of customers - particularly among businesses - with CCS Insight estimating just 24,000 AR smart glasses were purchased by businesses in 2017.
But businesses are expected to move away from trialling the technology and towards wider deployment, according to CCS Insight, which predicts sales to reach a record 1 million units in 2022.
"We're encouraged by the technology developments in smart glasses for consumers. Products such as Intel's Vaunt glasses are a clear signal of the direction these devices are moving in, with a design little different from a pair of standard prescription glasses. It only takes a big company like Apple to jump into the market and we could be looking at a market of millions of smart glasses in no time at all," said Jijiashvili.
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