The headset segment of the still young augmented reality and virtual reality segments grew 25.5 percent year-over-year, according to new AR/VR headset sales data from IDC. The category reached 2.1 million headset units shipped, according to IDC.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker said that the category experienced a slight decline from the first quarter but that it is set up for a good holiday season due to price cuts on current products and expectations of new products, according to the press release.

“Growth in the VR market has been rather sluggish compared to other recently introduced technologies as the amount of investment and, more importantly, the need for end user education is extremely high for VR,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Though the recent price cuts across all major platforms will help alleviate one of the barriers to adoption, providing consumers the opportunity to learn about products and try before they buy is still a significant hurdle faced by most companies.”

AR/VR Headset Sales
VR and AR are different areas and, at this point, are experiencing significantly different levels of success. IDC says that more than 98% of shipments are of VR products. More than half of the products shipped in the VR sector are screen-less viewers. Tethered VR headsets rose from 34% to 43% compared to the first quarter. The growth was due to increases in sales of Sony’s PlayStation and Facebook’s Oculus’ increasing shipments. AR shipments fell due to disappointing sales, as sales from high profile 2016 launches were not sustained. For now, AR is an enterprise-focused category, IDC says.

The top vendor during the second quarter was Samsung, with 568,000 shipped headsets and a 26.7 percent market share. It continued in the top spot due to the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S+, which drove sales of Gear VR. Sony’s PlayStation VR held its place as the top tethered device and led the company to 519,000 headsets shipped and 24.4% of the market. Facebook cut the price of Oculus Rift to tally 246,900 headset sales and 11.6 percent of the market. TCL rode the Alcatel headset to 106,400 units shipped and 5% market share. Finally, HTC – which is different in its targeting of the commercial market – had flat growth of 94,500 units and has 4.4% of the market.

Most significantly is that “other” was the top category with 594,800 headsets shipped and a 27.9% market share.

During the first quarter of the year, IDC said the top five players were (in order); Samsung, Sony, HTC, Facebook and TCL. Total shipments were 2.28 million.  Far more of the total – 980,000 headsets (43 percent) – were in the “other” category during the earlier quarter. The top five jockeyed a bit between quarters, with four vendors experiencing positive growth and one – HTC – dropping.

Image courtesy of flickr user Nan Palmero.

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