Standalone VR headset shipments will pass 1.5 mn in 2018: Canalys

VR headset use casesStandalone smart VR headset shipments will pass 1.5 million in 2018, and grow with a CAGR of 140 percent to reach 9.7 million units in 2021.

Oculus, HTC and Lenovo are launching new standalone VR headsets aimed at different VR market segments.

Standalone VR headsets are expected to help push the VR headset market to 7.6 million units in 2018, twice the shipments forecast for this year, Canalys forecasts.

Oculus made a big move by unveiling the Oculus Go, its first consumer-ready standalone smart VR headset during Oculus Connect 4 on 11 October 2017.

“Oculus Go, while a great move by Facebook to mobilize VR, will fail to get consumer attention when launched,” said Canalys Research Analyst Vincent Thielke.
VR headset growthThe extra cost of the headset and the fact that a smartphone-based solution, such as the Gear VR, can offer a similar experience will inhibit initial consumer uptake. Also, missing the holiday season is a lost opportunity for Oculus to gain a strong base of early adopters,” Vincent Thielke said.

But there will be excitement for this new category of VR headsets, and Oculus must ensure that its next mobile VR prototype, Project Santa Cruz, succeeds in attaining a high quality level to remain relevant in VR.

HTC Vive Focus headset with six degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) tracking retails from $600 in China, a similar price to a premium smartphone there.

“With its new Vive Focus, HTC is well placed to attract high-value consumers and, more importantly, businesses to its VR platform,” said Canalys Analyst Jason Low.

HTC is clearly not chasing volume, but moving toward the more important value segment, which is the future of VR. Consumer adoption of VR beyond gaming is still shaky but business use-cases are emerging quickly.

“Positional tracking has been on every VR headset vendor’s radar but especially challenging for inclusion in standalone VR headsets. Pico’s next headset is expected to retail at a higher price point than the Goblin, underlining the premium strategy of Chinese vendors,” Jason Low said.