Industry analyst CCS Insight believes virtual reality has the potential to be one of the most ‘disruptive’ technologies for a decade.
2.5 million VR and augmented reality devices are expected to be sold this year, rising to a massive 24 million in 2018, estimates the firm.
"Most consumers find virtual reality a mind-blowing experience the first time they try it,” said Ben Wood, CCS Insight's Chief of Research.
“We believe it has tremendous potential and it's not just about expensive high-end devices such as the Oculus Rift. For only a few dollars, consumers can dip their toe in the water with an inexpensive cardboard holder for a compatible smartphone. We expect this democratisation of the technology to deliver growth not just in affluent mature markets but also in emerging markets where smartphone penetration is stronger than ever."
Despite CCS Insight’s positivity surrounding the market, recent data from Walker Sands has found a gap between the 18-25 year olds interested in trying a virtual reality headset (59 per cent) and those who would actually purchase one (39 per cent).
Augmented reality is also starting to gain traction, especially in industrial and business arenas.
"Despite the reputational damage done to the consumer smart glasses segment by Google Glass, companies have realised augmented reality can be used to increase productivity and cut costs. Over the next two years we're going to see the technology move out of trials into full-scale deployments. Companies that embrace augmented reality will gain a competitive advantage," added Wood.