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Apple, others will challenge Meta’s dominance in the VR market in the coming years

Global shipments for virtual reality (VR) headsets jumped 241.6% during the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22) compared to the same period last year, according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker

Continued demand and easing supply helped drive the category forward, though the research group says it’s worth noting that the first quarter of 2021 was plagued with supply issues and thus provided a favorable comparison.

Meta captured 90% of the market in the first quarter as the Quest 2 remains immensely popular and Meta continues to offer more exclusive content while subsidizing hardware, according to IDC. Following Meta was ByteDance’s Pico with 4.5% share. 

While Pico has largely operated within China’s borders, it has maintained a presence in many global markets though this has primarily occurred in the commercial segment. IDC says that recent expansion into many European countries as well as a growing library of consumer-friendly content should help the company attract a larger audience in the coming quarters. DPVR, HTC, and iQIYI rounded out the top 5 companies with less than 4% share combined.

IDC says that VR shipments are forecast to grow further in 2022 as volumes for the entire year are expected to reach 13.9 million units, up 26.6%. However, 2023 will serve as a crucial year for the VR industry (and by extension, augmented reality as well) as next generation headsets from Meta, Pico, and Sony are expected to launch alongside with a headset from Apple that is expected to provide a mixed reality experience.

“All eyes will be on Apple as it launches its first headset next year, and while it is tempting to imagine the company shipping high volumes, keep in mind that this is its first headset that will appeal primarily to a small audience of early adopters and Apple fans,” notes Ramon Llamas, research director with IDC’s Augmented and Virtual Reality team. “Further iterations will likely show evolution that will grow by leaps and bounds. In the meantime, companies like Meta and Sony already have a strong installed base and pent-up demand that they can tap into. Altogether, this is a strong driver to push the market forward.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.