Worldwide AR/VR spending to reach $50.9 billion in 2026 — IDC

Worldwide spending on augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) is forecast to reach $13.8 billion this year and grow to $50.9 billion in 2026, according to the International Data Corp. (IDC).

The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for AR/VR spending will be 32.3%. Virtual reality will account for more than 70% of all AR/VR spending throughout the 2022-2026 forecast while overall spending will be almost evenly split between consumer and commercial applications.

“The AR/VR market has been taking slow but sure steps in recent years and is poised to take longer strides in the years to come,” said Ramon Llamas, research director, Mobile Devices and AR/VR at IDC. “Recently announced and upcoming hardware from major brands showcase clear improvement from first-generation devices. The deeper proliferation of current use cases and the addition of new ones highlight the versatility that AR/VR brings. And along with these is a whole host of services to help make them happen. The result: a maturing market ready to thrive for consumers and commercial users alike.”

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The named commercial use cases that are forecast to receive the largest AR investments throughout the forecast are industrial maintenance and training. Together, these two use cases will account for almost one third of all AR-related spending. In VR technology investments, the two largest named commercial use cases are found in training and collaboration, capturing nearly 44% of the market by 2026.

In comparison, the two leading consumer use cases — virtual reality gaming and augmented reality gaming — will grow to about 25% of all AR/VR spending by the end of the forecast.

The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth over the forecast period are emergency response (82.9% CAGR), augmented reality games (57.8% CAGR), internal videography (47.8% CAGR), and collaboration (42.7% CAGR). Sixteen other use cases are forecast to have five-year CAGRs of 30% or more.