The future of the ecommerce industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with virtual reality being one of the themes that will have a significant impact on ecommerce companies. A detailed analysis of the theme, insights into the leading companies, and their thematic and valuation scorecards are included in GlobalData’s thematic research report,Virtual Reality (VR) – Thematic Research. Buy the report here.
Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that immerses the user in an entirely artificial world, which has the illusion of reality. The global VR market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% over the 2020-2030 period, according to GlobalData forecasts.
The market remains heavily gaming-oriented, but VR is gaining traction in areas such as social media and live streaming. Consumer-focused VR companies are striving for a semi-mythical killer app that would make VR a mainstream hit. Meanwhile, VR headset makers are increasingly exploring growth among enterprises.
After Alibaba introduced VR shopping malls in China in 2016, several ecommerce firms followed its lead. In 2019, Amazon India partnered with HTC and rolled out Viveport VR apps through its online store. In the same year, Macy’s started to deliver VR experiences in its US stores via Facebook’s Oculus VR headsets. Retail giant Walmart forayed into VR by acquiring start-up firm Spatialand in 2018 and subsequently filing patents for VR technology that allows users to get an in-store experience at home. Walmart also uses VR headsets in its training centres to assess and develop employee skills.
However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.
According to GlobalData’s thematic research report, Virtual Reality, leading adopters include: Amazon, Alibaba, Airbnb, ByteDance, DPVR, eBay, Meta, HTC, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Sony, Unity, Valve and Walt Disney.
Insights from top ranked companies
ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, entered the VR market in August 2021 by acquiring Pico Interactive, the makers of Neo VR headsets. Neo headsets are mainly designed for enterprises, and Pico offers custom solutions for specific requirements. The acquisition has positioned ByteDance among the top VR headset vendors, as Pico was the fifth largest by revenue in 2020, according to GlobalData forecasts. ByteDance will make more acquisitions in VR over the next 18 months to strengthen its position in the market and challenge Facebook, HTC, and DPVR.
Facebook entered the VR market in 2014 with the acquisition of Oculus for $2bn. It has since moved from offering PC-tethered Oculus Rift headsets to untethered Quest 2 headsets. Content for these devices comes from the Oculus Store, which (at the time of writing) had more than 1,000 apps. In 2019, Facebook acquired exclusive rights to the VR versions of popular Ubisoft games Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell to enhance the appeal of its VR headsets. Subsequently, it acquired VR gaming firms like Beat Games, Ready at Dawn, and BigBox VR to strengthen its position in the gaming sector. It is also targeting its Oculus headsets at enterprises. In 2019, it relaunched the Oculus for Business service, aiming to simplify large-scale VR deployments and in 2021, introduced Horizon Workrooms for remote collaboration via VR headsets. In October 2021, Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta to reflect its focus on the metaverse.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Virtual Reality.
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