Global shipments of virtual reality (VR) headsets grew 52.4% year over year in the first quarter of 2021 (1Q21), according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker. Standalone headsets, which feature an all-encompassing design such as the Oculus Quest 2 or the HTC Vive Focus, accounted for the vast majority of shipments, capturing 82.7% share during the quarter, up from 50.5% in the first quarter of 2020. The growing popularity of gaming, as well as fitness, has helped spread consumer awareness of VR while companies like Facebook have made the tech more accessible. Oculus has singlehandedly driven growth in the market as the company managed to capture almost two-thirds share of global VR headset shipments during the quarter.
In addition to Oculus, Chinese companies DPVR and Pico also performed well during the quarter, finishing as the second and third-ranked companies and growing 108.6% and 44.7% year over year respectively. Each of the companies already has a strong foothold in China and are working to grow their international presence by catering to the commercial segment. Moreover, the short-term outlook for these companies, Pico in particular, bodes well as they address the need for lower-cost headsets with 3 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) while also transitioning a portion of their userbase to more immersive 6 DoF headsets and content. HTC and Sony rounded out the top 5 VR headset companies.
With the release of its latest headset, the Oculus Quest 2, Meta (previously Facebook) was able to capture an increasing share of the nascent market previously dominated by Sony and its PlayStation VR headsets. According to Counterpoint Research, the new goggles helped the company gain a share of 75 percent of XR headset shipments in Q1 of 2021, up from just 34 percent in Q1 of 2020. In 2018 and 2019, Sony’s market share at around 40 percent had still exceeded that of Oculus at the time.
During the November 2021 survey, just over 36 percent of Steam users with a virtual reality (VR) headset stated that they had an Oculus Quest 2. Overall, just under two percent of all Steam users reported having a VR headset.