​Gamers to lead Australia's 110k VR headset sales in 2016: Telsyte

Telsyte has predicted that virtual reality will make its grand entrance into the Australian market this year, expecting 110,000 headset units to be sold in 2016 alone.

Telsyte expects the popularity of virtual reality (VR) in Australia to accelerate this year, predicting the sale of 110,000 units in 2016 to kick off annual growth of more than 500,000 headsets per annum by 2020, with video game enthusiasts expected to lead the trend.

In its Telsyte Australian VR & AR Market Study 2016, the industry analyst firm suggests that the demand from consumers down under will outweigh supply in the VR headset market.

"Strong market growth will come in 2017 and 2018 as manufacturers ramp up production and more 'must have' use cases emerge," Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said in a statement. "The strongest pent-up demand is coming from gamers, who clearly see VR as the next frontier in immersive entertainment."

According to Telsyte, ongoing research conducted for the computer games industry allows the firm to predict the bulk of the initial VR device demand will be driven by gamers.

"Today, one in two households have a game console -- of which around a third have a current generation model, such as the Sony PlayStation 4," Telsyte said.

"For example, the popular Microsoft-owned Minecraft game is expected to be a strong catalyst for adoption, with support announced for Oculus and the game demonstrated on HoloLens."

Microsoft's HoloLens is in fact an augmented reality (AR) headset, which although similar to a VR headset, it allows interaction with the real world with visual overlays.

Telsyte believes both AR and VR will grow in popularity and bring with them different applications for entertainment and work productivity, with the largest segment in the Australian VR market expected to be console consumers.

Beyond 2017, Telsyte said the availability of lower priced products and more advanced mobile and PC-based options will help lift the share of non-console based VR consumption.

"In Australia, the VR and AR market will spawn an ecosystem of developers that will be looking to help businesses take advantage of this new interface, much like web and mobile app developers have previously," Fadaghi said.

"While some will take a leading position, it is more likely that a wait-and-see approach will be adopted by most organisations to substantiate the non-gamer user base, and for the current range of products to mature."

According to Telsyte, potential VR/AR buyers cited games, movies, sports entertainment, and education as the main reasons why they would want to own a device.

"Despite this groundswell of interest, VR and AR still have headwinds to overcome to gain wider consumer acceptance," Telsyte said. "Only one in five people are willing to spend more than AU$400 for a VR headset, substantially lower than the price of most first-generation products coming to market."

Previously, Telsyte said the rising popularity of wearable technology in Australia hit domestic tablet sales in 2014, and predicted the trend to continue if devices such as HoloLens and Samsung's Gear VR were to become more prevalent in the market.

"In the coming years, we are likely to see more connected-home apps being developed for wearable devices such as virtual or augmented reality headsets," Telsyte senior analyst Alvin Lee said at the time.

Industry analysis company International Data Corporation (IDC) also said this week it expects robotics-related services spending in the Asia-Pacific region to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent from 2015 to 2019, reaching $93 billion in 2019.

The figure comes after IDC released its estimated global robotics spending last month which sees the analysts predict worldwide robotics spending to hit $135.4 billion in 2019 -- up from $71 billion in 2015.