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Demand for AR and VR headsets nearly tripled in one year

No surprises as to which headset dominated the market.

Published onJuly 14, 2021

Oculus Quest 2
Adam Sinicki / Android Authority
  • Shipments of AR and VR headsets nearly tripled year-over-year at the start of 2021.
  • The Oculus Quest 2 dominated the market with 75% share.
  • Facebook might reign supreme for the foreseeable future.

Virtual reality might have had its watershed moment. Counterpoint Research has determined that VR and AR headset shipments nearly tripled year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021.

It won’t surprise you to hear who led the pack. The Oculus Quest 2 drove that spike in demand, giving Facebook’s VR headset brand a whopping 75% share. It even changed the shape of the market — standalone headsets now represent 85% of the space where they were just 42% at the start of 2020. Oculus is estimated to have shipped 4.6 million Quest 2 units so far.

Everyone else was fighting for scraps, according to the data. China’s DPVR was second at 6% thanks to its focus on VR headset tech for businesses and schools, while Sony’s PlayStation VR slipped to 5%. The rest included HTC’s Vive gear, the Valve Index and other (usually niche) hardware.

See also: The best VR games for most headsets

Counterpoint didn’t fully explain the spike, but it’s not hard to see more factors beyond the value of the Quest 2 itself. Oculus’ latest model was introduced in September 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave — a VR headset was a compelling way to escape your home when you couldn’t travel or meet others in person.

Oculus isn’t expected to face any threats for the rest of the year. The company might not want to get comfortable, however. Sony is developing a second-generation PlayStation VR headset for the PS5, while both Apple and Microsoft are reportedly prepping affordable mixed reality tech in the years ahead. As much mileage as you’ll likely get out of a Quest 2, Oculus may have to step up if it’s going to hold your interest in the years ahead.

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