VR And AR Hardware Sales Doubled Year-Over-Year In 2021

The continued shortage of current-gen gaming consoles was one likely factor, an analyst says.

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VR and AR devices may have been seen as a fad just a few years ago, but it appears that is no longer the case. Last year's holiday season saw more than double the hardware and accessory sales for VR and AR devices compared to the previous year, and it's expected they'll continue to be big sellers in 2022.

The NPD Group reported that during the five-week period in 2021 going from November 21 to December 25, VR and AR hardware sales, in addition to accessories were up 180% in unit sales and 153% in dollar sales compared to 2020. Sales for the full year were also up more than double in both categories, though the growth was not quite as high as it was during the holiday period.

Quest 2
Quest 2

According to NPD's executive director and technology analyst Ben Arnold, the continued shortage of Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles may have contributed to VR's dominance.

"This year's holiday gains come as consumers continue to look for unique entertainment experiences and also likely benefitted from challenges consumers faced in securing popular gaming consoles," Arnold said.

Arnold added that VR, AR, smart glasses, and the Metaverse--whatever shape it takes--will also be "areas to watch" in 2022. Moving toward the end of January, it's still very difficult to secure new traditional gaming consoles, though we've occasionally seen PS5 and Xbox Series X units hit retail shelves instead of only being available online.

Meta--formerly known as Facebook--is certainly going full steam ahead with VR. The Quest and Quest 2 have been big successes for the company, with exclusive content in the works from series such as Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed. Sony is also creating the PlayStation VR2 device for the PS5, complete with eye-tracking technology.

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