Augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) revenues will reach $162 Billion by 2020

Apple is deeply invested in artificial intelligence and augmented reality when it comes to future products CEO Tim Cook told the Washington Post. That’s a good plan because, according to the new Worldwide Semiannual Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide from the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020. 

This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 181.3% over the 2015-2020 forecast period. IDC's new spending guide expands on previous AR/VR forecasts by offering greater detail on revenues by technology, industry, and geography.

"The rise of new, less expensive hardware will put virtual and augmented reality technology within the grasp of a growing numbers of companies and individuals," says Tom Mainelli, vice president, Devices & AR/VR, IDC. "But, as always, what people can do with that hardware will depend upon the applications and services that power it. In the coming years, we expect developers to create a wide range of new experiences for these devices that will fundamentally change the way many of us do work."

The research group says sales of AR/VR hardware will generate more than 50% of worldwide revenues throughout the forecast period. AR/VR software revenues will also get off to a quick start, growing more than 200% year over year in 2016, but will quickly be overtaken by services revenues in the middle years of the forecast, as logistics and manufacturing demand enterprise-class support.

Revenues for VR systems, including viewers, software, consulting services and systems integration services, are forecast to be greater than AR-related revenues in 2016 and 2017, largely due to consumer uptake of games and paid content. After 2017, AR revenues will surge ahead, hitting critical mass in healthcare delivery and product design and management-related use cases, according to IDC.