Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are the industry's golden children at the moment, with both the consumer and enterprise markets seeing advancements in the platforms built by the likes of Microsoft, Valve, HTC, Facebook, Google and Samsung. According to research firm IDC, this will result in a sharp increase in the volume of VR and AR headsets shipped in the next five years, from just under 10 million in 2016 to a fraction shy of 100 million by 2021.
That's a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57.7% -- pretty impressive for technology that is still finding its feet. Most of the units shipped so far have been VR headsets, IDC says, which makes sense as the only AR headset to have fully hit the market is the Microsoft HoloLens, which costs $3,000 and is aimed at the enterprise market. In VR, most of the headsets sold have been "screenless" -- that is, headsets that use a mobile phone for the display, such as the Samsung Gear VR or the Google Daydream View.
Bear in mind that IDC has been known to get things wrong in the past -- it famously stated in 2011 that Windows Phone devices would overtake the iPhone in market share, whereas in reality the Windows Phone market is almost dead in 2017. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see what IDC's analysts think the future holds for VR and AR.