China leads in AR/VR spending

Worldwide spending on augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) is tipped to balloon from just over US$12.0 billion this year to US$72.8 billion in 2024, according to IDC.

Leading the way is China, which accounted for more than half the global total this year. While it is expected to continue to stay at the top with 36 percent in 2024, the US and Europe are predicted to close that gap significantly.

“2020 has become a major turning point where enterprises and organisations across all verticals are embracing the unarticulated need for augmented, mixed, and virtual reality. Training continues to be a leading use case for AR/VR adoption, as enterprises continue to focus on knowledge capture and transfer initiatives,” said Stacey Soohoo, Research Manager of Customer Insights and Analysis at IDC.

“In addition, managing face-to-face interactions and touch points in and out of the physical workplace are just as essential; ranging from virtual property tours to retail showcasing, organisations are adopting AR/VR to create a personalised, immersive customer experience. Many enterprises are making necessary investments to address needs that outlive ones brought on by the pandemic, and for many, the adoption of AR/VR is just the tip of the iceberg,” she added.

The expected top commercial use cases in 2024 are training (US$4.1 billion), industrial maintenance (US$4.1 billion), and retail showcasing (US$2.7 billion).

In the consumer space, the three use cases for AR/VR (VR gaming, VR video/feature viewing and AR gaming) are forecasted to see combined spending of US$17.6 billion in 2024.

“We’ve seen a huge uptick in commercial interest in both virtual and augmented reality driven by the pandemic. Organisations of all sizes are leveraging the technologies to capture and transfer knowledge between experienced and new employees, enhance and streamline field operations, and increase collaboration among frontline workers,” said Tom Mainelli, Group Vice President of Devices and Consumer Research at IDC.

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