The Extended Reality (XR) headset shipments almost tripled annually in Q1 2021, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Global XR (VR & AR) Model Tracker. The Oculus Quest 2 success drove these volumes.
Offering great hardware at a reasonable price, Oculus kept improving the performance of the Quest 2 with regular software updates, while growing user engagement. Till Q1 2021, the Quest 2 had shipped a cumulative 4.6 million headsets, a record for any single Model.
Commenting on the market dynamics, Senior Analyst Karn Chauhan said, “The standalone Virtual Reality (VR) form factor led the global XR market with 85% shipment share in Q1 2021, compared to 42% in Q1 2020. The transition from tethered to standalone VR is being driven mainly by the Quest series. Other XR headset OEMs are also focusing on the standalone form factor as it is the device of choice among users, especially gamers. The Augmented Reality (AR) segment contributed only 4% in Q1 2021, which was driven by the few enterprise-level deals with AR headset OEMs. The AR consumer segment is still in a nascent stage as most of the compelling use cases are being satisfied by mobile AR. There is also a lack of disruptive mass-market or even mainstream AR headsets.”
Commenting on brand performance, Senior Analyst Harmeet Singh Walia said, “Oculus captured a record 75% share of global XR shipments in Q1 2021 as compared to 34% in Q1 2020, thanks to the continued success of the Quest 2. Chinese brand DPVR climbed to the second position for the first time by keeping its focus on the enterprise and education segment. With no successor of PlayStation VR, Sony fell to the number three spot for the first time since 2016. Pico and Valve took the fourth and fifth spots respectively while HTC, with its focus increasingly limited to the niche enterprise segment, slipped to the sixth position.
Given few new launches planned for 2021 by major players, the Oculus Quest 2 will reign unchallenged. It has now established itself as the leading player in the XR segment, especially gaming, and is unlikely to be replaced in the near future despite increasing competition. The Quest 2 offers a great experience in the wireless form factor, giving it an edge over competitors. However, the competition in this segment will also increase in the coming years with Sony likely to move into it.
While there are many enterprise and industrial use cases for XR currently available and in development, growth in this segment is slower than expected in some areas. The industrial use cases that have greater potential include field force support, education, training, media and many more. We can, therefore, expect a steadily increasing, even if slow, trend towards enterprises and other organizations investing more in the development and use of XR devices and services, especially after 2025.
Players including Microsoft, Varjo and HTC have been taking a wider enterprise-level approach to target this low-volume, high-ASP segment. A lighter, power-efficient and longer battery life version of Microsoft’s HoloLens offered under $1,000, combined with its strong base in major economies, has the potential to make Microsoft a major player in the consumer segment as well. But we do not expect Microsoft to launch such a device in the first half of this decade.
We believe that XR will continue to experience double-digit growth for the next four years. Apple’s entry will likely catalyze the participation of several other brands, especially the Chinese smartphone OEMs that are also present in the smartwatch segment.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.