Year of Recovery for Spatial Computing After Tricky 2023

  • Sales of virtual and augmented reality devices struggled in 2022, but the arrival of new brands will ignite excitement for the technology.
  • Virtual reality is expected to enjoy good growth in the value of device shipments, but questions remain about applications for consumers and businesses.
  • Augmented reality devices continue be a tough engineering challenge and will take some time to become mainstream.

London, 13 March 2024: The market for virtual and augmented reality devices is projected to grow steadily for the next few years thanks to the entry of several brands, alongside growing interest in spatial computing overall, according to technology market analyst firm CCS Insight.

This month saw Apple’s long-awaited market debut with its ultrapremium Vision Pro headset, and other leading brands including Samsung and Google are expected to join later in 2024. Although these devices will only sell in limited numbers this year, their presence will trigger new interest in virtual and augmented reality as a whole.

Leo Gebbie, principal analyst at CCS Insight, notes, “The launch of Apple’s Vision Pro has been a milestone for the spatial computing market and will undoubtedly get more people thinking about buying their first headset. But Apple’s device is extremely pricey, and in short supply, so it will not be able to power spatial computing to success on its own”.

Apple’s entry will provide a halo effect for established players, adds analyst Kane McKenna, “For headset-makers like Meta and Sony, Apple’s presence is good news. People who are interested in the technology but don’t want to splurge will be attracted to existing options that can provide a more accessible first taste of spatial computing”.

However, CCS Insight has pared back its overall forecast for device shipments as the virtual reality market has so far failed to mature as quickly as expected.

“We had previously assumed that virtual reality users would have a growing number of applications for their headsets, and that markets with ample room for growth, like China, would begin adopting the technology in mass, but this hasn’t happened”, observes Gebbie. “Gaming remains entrenched as the main application for headsets and other uses have failed to get the traction we had projected. Chinese players such as Pico and DPVR have struggled in their home market, and ongoing trade tensions between the US and China have prevented market leaders like Meta from gaining a foothold in China. Both factors have hampered the spread of the technology”.

As a result, CCS Insight now projects a slower growth phase to 2028. Sales of virtual reality headsets will increase from 7.1 million in 2023 to 9.0 million in 2024, at which point they will start to grow more strongly, topping 26 million units worldwide in 2028.

The augmented reality device market is also expected to see steady growth in shipments, but from a far smaller starting point. The vast majority of these devices are currently sold to enterprise customers, but the premium end of this market has faltered as players such as Microsoft and Magic Leap have struggled for success.

McKenna comments, “The augmented reality market is overwhelmingly focused on businesses, with headsets mostly used for remote assistance and warehouse fulfilment tasks. We expect growth as businesses continue to embrace this technology in their operations. However, there are few signs that visionary applications for augmented reality using detailed spatial information to overlay the real world have been successful, and we believe this category needs a shot in the arm to reignite growth”.

Consumer augmented reality devices, such as smart glasses, are a very small segment of the current market because the cost of building these devices and lack of supporting applications limit their appeal. A meaningful increase in shipments is likely to lie beyond the end of the forecast period, as Gebbie explains, “We remain convinced that smart glasses have a future in the consumer market, but the challenges that have so far stalled their development — building something that’s affordable, comfortable to wear and delivers a good experience — obstinately remain present”.

A summary of CCS Insight’s latest forecast is presented in the chart below.

More details of CCS Insight’s extensive virtual and augmented reality research service can be found at

Notes to Editors

CCS Insight is a leading provider of research on the virtual and augmented reality market. Its device forecast covers several product segments and presents three scenarios (core, low and high) that plot the effects of different market developments. This forecast is part of a broader suite of research including regular reports and updates on the latest announcements, events and news.

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global analyst company specializing in the technology and telecom sectors. The firm offers comprehensive services tailored to meet the individual needs of its clients, helping them make sense of the connected world and optimize their strategies. With a focus on current and future trends, CCS Insight provides valuable insights and analysis to navigate the complex technology landscape. Follow @CCSInsight on X or learn more at

For further information contact:

Mark Jordan
Harvard PR
Tel: + 44 (0) 7931987466

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