Investments in augmented and virtual reality skyrocketing

Worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market are forecast to rise by 100 percent or more over each of the next four years, according to a new report from International Data Corp.

Total spending on AR/VR products and services is expected to jump from $11.4 billion in 2017 to nearly $215 billion 2021, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 113 percent. The U.S. will be the region with the largest AR/VR spending total in 2017 ($3.2 billion).

In healthcare, experts predict that virtual reality and augmented reality technology will increasingly be implemented. But as healthcare pivots towards a retail marketplace, that economic calculus changes. According to Goldman Sachs, healthcare VR applications are forecast to top $5.1 billion in sales by 2025, with 3.4 million active users, including 1.5 million medical professionals.

The regions that will experience the fastest growth over the 2016 to 2021 forecast period are Canada (145 percent CAGR), Central and Eastern Europe (134 percent), Western Europe (121 percent) and the U.S. (121 percent).

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The consumer segment will be the largest source of AR/VR revenues in each region in 2017. In the U.S. and Western Europe, the next largest segments are discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing. Over the course of the forecast, the consumer segment in the U.S. will be overtaken by process manufacturing, government, discrete manufacturing, retail, construction, transportation and professional services, the IDC report predicts.

"The consumer, retail, and manufacturing segments will be the early leaders in AR [and] VR investment and adoption,” said Marcus Torchia, research director of IDC customer insights and analysis. “However, as we see in the regions, other segments like government, transportation, and education will utilize the transformative capabilities of these technologies."

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