Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are expected to see record growth this year, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The forthcoming U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report from CTA projects AR/VR headset sales (including eyewear) eyewear will sell 4.9 million units in the U.S. in 2018 (a more than 25 percent increase from 2017).

Those sales will generate U.S. revenues of $1.2 billion (almost 10 percent year-over-year growth). CTA also projects sales of consumer-focused AR eyewear will accelerate considerably within the next five years.

The AR/VR sector will also reach record levels of exhibit space at CES 2018. The Augmented Reality Marketplace will expand to a record 10,900 net square feet (NSF) – 10 percent larger than in 2017. And the Gaming & Virtual Reality Marketplace will grow to 34,100 NSF – an 18 percent year-over-year increase and its largest-ever CES footprint.

“We’re thrilled with the impressive growth of AR/VR, reflecting that the sky is the limit with these emerging technologies,” said Karen Chupka, CTA senior vice president, CES and corporate business strategy, in a prepared statement.

“It’s up to us in the industry to help consumers understand all the technology and content available right now in the AR/VR/MR space,” added Mark Turner, Technicolor vice president, corporate partnerships and strategy, and chairman of CTA’s AR/VR working group, in a prepared statement. “The investments we’re seeing in these immersive technologies, coupled with other innovations – like wearables and voice search – point to an exciting future of truly pervasive personal computing. A future where your physical environment can morph between being your digital workplace and your digital fun place.”

Last year, CTA’s AR/VR Working Group approved industry definitions to help companies explain to consumers the broad range of technologies and experiences available, including:

  • Augmented Reality (AR) overlays digitally-created content into the user’s real-world environment
  • Mixed Reality (MR) is an experience that seamlessly blends the user’s real-world environment and digitally-created content, where both environments can coexist and interact with each other
  • Virtual Reality (VR) creates a digital environment that replaces the user’s real-world environment

Some of the latest of these technologies with be on display at CES® 2018 next week in Las Vegas, Nev.

Image courtesy of flickr user Maurizio Pescel.