Summary of our market study

The global market for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality has experienced significant growth, with $13 billion in revenue recorded in 2020—a 117% increase —though still falling short of initial industry expectations. In 2020, VR/AR headset sales surged by 69% compared to the previous year, with projections indicating AR headset sales will climb from 5% to 33% of the market by 2025. The French market, currently positioned sixth worldwide, saw headset sales escalate from 60,000 units to 330,000 units, and is projected to reach 1.46 million units by 2023. Demand is buoyed by the BtoC market, notably among 25-34-year-olds, and VR experiences have been tried by 40.9% of the French population. BtoB spending, comprising 29% of the market, is forecasted to dominate at 68% by 2022, led by industry and retail sectors.

American and Asian digital giants hold a substantial market share, with the top 5 VR headset manufacturers accounting for 73.6% in 2020 alone, with Meta's Oculus Quest leading at 38.7%. Despite this dominance, French startups and companies like Lynx are making entry points, especially in content creation for niche markets. However, the sector did not experience a notable boost from the COVID-19 crisis as some other digital entertainment industries did. Major trends in the industry involve democratizing access to immersive technologies by lowering costs and improving user experiences, with an increasing focus on the professional market and collaborative, social virtual environments.

Evolving Appetite for Immersive Experiences: A Dive into Emerging Trends in Augmented and Virtual Realities

The landscape of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality in France mirrors the dynamic growth witnessed across the globe, with a particular surge in interest from both individual consumers and businesses. The French market, while predominantly featuring international players, has seen a notable increase in the adoption of headsets, jumping from a modest figure of around 60,000 units sold to the striking range of 300,000 to 350,000 units within a span of just three years. This remarkable uptick in sales forecasts a continued trajectory that could see figures soaring to between 1 and 1.5 million by 2023.

Delving into the demographic specifics, it's evident that the fascination with virtual reality headsets isn't confined to the younger population. While ownership among the age group of 15-24 years witnessed a slight decline, other age brackets, especially the 25-34 year-olds, showed a robust participation rate inching close to 16%. Notably, even the older demographics, the 50-64 year-olds, showcased an ownership rate of approximately 3.5%, indicating a broadening consumer base.

The French public's engagement with virtual reality technologies extends beyond ownership; the proportion of the population that has experienced VR at least once stands at an impressive rate of around 40%, an increase of nearly 20% from earlier years. Moreover, frequent use, defined as monthly engagement with VR, is evident in around 7% of the population, while about 20% indulge in the experience less frequently, on an annual basis. A whopping 94% of users have voiced their enjoyment of VR experiences, and interestingly, the technology seems to be savored most in a communal setting, with over two-thirds opting to share the experience with family or friends. In terms of applications, the French market exhibits a strong tilt towards entertainment, with video gaming leading as the most common use, followed by thrill experiences and movie watching.

On the business front, the emerging B2B market accounts for an increasingly significant portion of VR/AR expenditure, a shift from the initial focus on the consumer segment. The industrial and retail sectors are at the forefront of this spending, signaling the potential for VR and AR solutions to revolutionize workflows and customer interactions. Despite the dominance of major international tech corporations in the production of hardware and software for immersive technologies, French startups have carved out a niche for themselves, particularly in content creation.

Prominent Market Players in the Immersive Technology Landscape

The immersive technology market is teeming with innovation and highly competitive products offered by a combination of digital behemoths and nimble startups that are shaping the future of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality experiences. Here is a closer look at some of the key players that have established their prominence in the industry.

  • Meta (Formerly Facebook) A leader in the virtual reality space, Meta, previously known as Facebook, is the mastermind behind Oculus, a pioneering VR headset brand. The company made waves with its acquisition of Oculus in 2014, marking a significant investment in virtual reality technology. Meta's continued push towards developing the metaverse further underscores its commitment to shaping a virtual future.
  • Microsoft A formidable force in the industry, Microsoft is known for its advanced mixed reality headset, the Hololens. Boasting high-end capabilities for enterprise use, Hololens reflects Microsoft's strategic focus on professional markets and immersive enterprise solutions.
  • Apple While not yet a player in AR/VR hardware, Apple is a notable contender due to its innovative ARKit platform for iOS devices, which allows developers to create augmented reality experiences. The tech giant's persistent rumors of entering the headset market keep industry observers on their toes about its future offerings.
  • Amazon Although Amazon is not directly involved in producing VR or AR hardware, its cloud computing services and development platforms indirectly support the immersive technology infrastructure by providing the backbone for numerous applications in the field.
  • Sony Sony has solidified its position in the market with the PlayStation VR, a popular VR headset designed for gaming that integrates seamlessly with its PlayStation console. The success of PlayStation VR stems from Sony's extensive experience in gaming and entertainment.
  • HTC set a standard with its Vive VR headset, a high-quality product that caters to both consumers and businesses. The Vive's accurate tracking system and immersive graphics have made it a favorite among virtual reality enthusiasts.
  • Epic Games Widely recognized for game development, Epic Games also plays a role in the immersive tech space with its Unreal Engine, a powerful creation tool that developers use to build high-fidelity, interactive AR and VR experiences.
  • Unity Technologies is another engine powering the immersive reality revolution. The Unity platform is versatile and user-friendly, allowing creators to develop VR and AR content across various industries, from gaming to architectural visualization.
  • Ubisoft, a titan in the video game industry, branches out into immersive technology with VR titles like Eagle Flight and Space Junkies.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Augmented reality refers to the superimposition of elements calculated in real time by computer software (sounds, 2D or 3D images, etc.) and reality. It allows to embed virtual objects in 3D in a real environment. Virtual reality simulates a three-dimensional environment using computer software, the user can then interact with the environment created. Mixed reality is a mixture of virtual and augmented reality.

Technological and industry advancements have boosted the market as annual sales of AR/VR headsets increase worldwide. Nearly 330,000 headsets were sold in France in 2019. Web and IT giants such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Apple are particularly active in the market. However, new players, particularly from Asia, are offering new products, while many French companies are trying to make their way in a market dominated by foreign players. The French ecosystem is mainly composed of startups, but also of large groups such as Ubisoft.

The applications offered by augmented, virtual and mixed realities are constantly developing for the general public and the professional market (immersive visits, training, collaborations, leisure activities...) and the democratization of these applications by consumers is the major issue in this emerging market.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Volumes of VR and AR headsets sold
  • Évolution du chiffre d'affaires sur le marché de l'Extended Reality (AR, VR, MR)
  • Volumes of VR and AR headsets sold
  • Estimated size of the French market
  • Virtual reality headset owners
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Latest news

Augmented reality: Fittingbox acquires US company Ditto Technologies - 03/11/2023
  • Fittingbox, the leader in virtual eyewear fitting, has acquired its US competitor Ditto Technologies, which was number two in the sector.
  • Ditto Technologies is part of Luna Solutions, a company owned by CNT Holdings.
  • Ditto Technologies employs around fifty people in the United States.
  • Fittingbox was created in 2006 and was the first to launch the "virtual mirror" for real-time, 3D eyewear fitting.
  • Ditto Technologies was founded in 2011 and uses another augmented reality technique.
  • Fittingbox has a database of 155,000 3D frames worldwide and 4,000 customers worldwide.
  • Ditto Technologies supplies online optician Zenni Optical in the USA and Specsavers in the UK.
  • Ditto Technologies is forecasting 75 million virtual fittings by 2022, compared with 120 million for Fittingbox.
  • Fittingbox posted sales of 9.7 million euros in 2022, up 14%.
  • Fittingbox has doubled its workforce in three years, employing 105 people prior to the acquisition.
  • The acquisition of Ditto Technologies enables Fittingbox to strengthen its presence in North America, one of its strategic markets alongside Europe and Japan.
Meta launches its first augmented reality headset! - 28/09/2023
  • The new Quest 3 virtual reality headset will be available from October 10.
  • The Quest 3 offers "mixed" reality, i.e. augmented reality, while its predecessor Quest 2, released in 2020, offers basic virtual reality.
  • Apple's Vision Pro headset, which also offers augmented reality, will be seven times more expensive than the Quest 3.
  • The Quest 3 will cost $500 for 128 gigabytes of storage (550 euros in France), while the Quest 2 is priced at $300 for 128 GB.
  • Meta has already sold some twenty million headsets, despite losses running into tens of billions of dollars for its Reality Labs division
  • Microsoft's cloud gaming platform will be available on the Quest from December.
  • Purchases of games and apps on the Quest Store have exceeded $2 billion.
Bard, Google's answer to ChatGPT - 18/07/2023
  • Google's chatbot Bard is now available in Europe and Brazil.
  • The service is now available in over 40 languages, including French, Arabic and German.
  • The service has been launched in 180 other countries (only in English, Japanese or Korean).
  • Bard is based on the analysis of billions of online texts and up-to-date news data, unlike its competitor ChatGPT, whose data ends in 2021.
Electronics prices are on the rise, whether for video game consoles, smartphones or electronic components. - 26/08/2022
  • Sony raises PlayStation 5 price by 50 euros
  • From now on, consumers will have to pay 549.99 euros for a PS5 with disc drive and 449.99 euros for the digital version
  • MacBook Air M2 costs 1,499 euros
  • Samsung and TSMC raise their prices by 15 to 20%
Nintendo's first mobile video game passes the billion-dollar revenue mark - 01/07/2022
  • Nintendo's "Fire Emblem Heroes" mobile video game generates $1 billion in sales
  • Nintendo focused on the operation of its latest console, the highly successful Switch
  • In its last annual fiscal year, Nintendo generated nearly $400 million in revenues from its mobile business
  • Nintendo Switch aims to surpass Wii's record sales
  • The Switch went on sale in early 2017, approaching 110 million units sold

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Meta (anciennement Facebook)
Oculus
Google
Microsoft Espagne
HTC
Ubisoft
Nintendo
Youtube
Instagram (Meta)
Sony
Fittingbox

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