In a short period, Virtual Reality (VR) has grown to become one of most talked about sectors in tech. It’s disrupting several different platforms. Virtual reality introduces a three-dimensional experience, so life-like, it’s difficult to distinguish truth from digital fiction.
The most popular applications of VR appear to be in gaming. Also, VR has further opportunities in healthcare, defense, education, real estate, manufacturing, and retail among others.
Researchers at Mordor Intelligence have reported that the global VR market was valued at $3.13 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 58.54% to reach $49.7 billion by 2023. In 2014, there were less than 1 million VR users, but the number of people using VR had already exceeded 150 million in 2018.
Global virtual reality revenue was $7.2B in 2017, and Greenlight Insights forecasts that the revenue is on track to hit $75 billion by 2021; hence, it might be proactively smart to include some VR stocks in your portfolio going forward.
If you like to invest in the growing VR industry, you’ll most likely be placing your investments in; Incumbent tech firms are leveraging VR to maintain their lead, startups leveraging VR to disrupt industries and companies making VR hardware.
Let’s look at some of the best virtual reality stocks that you should be watching.
The VR market is segmented by product type into hardware, software, gaming console, desktop, and smartphone.
Top Virtual Reality Stocks: Hardware
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is one of the biggest players in the VR industry not because of its 2.27 billion monthly active users but because of the market leadership of its Oculus Headsets.
Facebook boasts a suite of best-in-class VR headsets that can help you experience digital entertainment or immerse yourself in what it calls the ultimate gaming experience. The company has a strong consumer base, brand recognition, financial muscle, and foresight needed to push VR into mainstream adoption.
The corporation is also trying to unlock VR for facilitating social interactions – this could be the sweet spot for selling its headset to its massive userbase sprawling Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.
Vuzix Corp (NASDAQ: VUZI) an active player worthy of attention in the hardware segment of the Virtual Reality market. Vuzix makes VR and AR products for both the consumer tech and the enterprise markets.
Vuzix is primarily concerned with making wearable display devices that can enable users to interact with digital content in a VR environment.
The company is not as big as Facebook is in this space, but it has an impressive IP portfolio of 66 patents, and another 43 patents pending which make it a prime acquisition target.
Best Virtual Reality Stocks: Software
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is not a pureplay VR stock, but it does have a strong presence in the VR space by providing the prerequisite visual, sound, and intuitive interactions solutions for creating immersive VR experiences.
For instance, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon VR SDK is designed to give developers access to optimized, advanced VR features on Snapdragon VR devices. Among other things, the VR SDK provides an abstraction to the complexity of creating VR products. That said, proper new levels of VR layering, and enhance faster motion to a photon.
Best Virtual Reality Stocks In Gaming Console
If you don’t mind exposure to the Asian markets, Taiwanese HTC (TPE: HTC) is another VR stock to consider.
Its HTC line’ of VIve VR products have set up a formidable rivalry to Facebook’s Oculus. For instance, while Oculus is best suited for cockpit games, Vive has distinguished itself in standing, walking, as well as cockpit games. Interestingly, HTC occupies the third position behind Sony and Oculus with 12.9% market share. That said, it could have more room for growth if tech reviews continue to rate Vive devices better than the competition.
The Best Virtual Reality Stocks: Desktop
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is a significant stakeholder in the VR market with its HoloLens and Mixed reality products. Over the last several years, Microsoft has executed an impressive turnaround story from being a dying tech giant to leading the frontiers of consumer tech with its range of Surface products.
The firm’s mixed reality platform helps to overlay digital content on the physical world within the desktop environment. For instance, its Dynamics 365 Remote assist solution is helping to revolutionize business. It does so, by providing superior customer service, facilitate remote work, and encourage collaboration. The Dynamics 365 Layout also provides holograms on physical space to use 3D models at a life-size scale.
Top Stocks In Virtual Reality: Smartphone
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has made some forays into the augmented reality space, especially with the addition of ARKit to the 2017 iPhone. There are reports suggesting that Apple is creating AR/VR headsets, but they’ve yet to be confirmed.
However, the firm has yet to publicly announce its plans with VR.
Nonetheless, Apple’s market leadership in the smartphone market with its iOS and iPhone and its cult-like following makes it practically impossible to ignore the clout that it can command if it gets serious with VR. Interestingly, there are many iPhone compatible VR headsets, but you can count on Apple change the VR game if it introduces its headsets.
Alphabet’s Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is one the most significant players in the VR space with a clear mobile-first strategy. With an array of development tools to build for VR, including apps to experience VR, Google is committed to providing an immersive virtual experience.
As of Q2 2017, Google’s Android OS controls an 87.9% market share of the smartphone market. It also controls an astonishing 66% of the tablets market share. Google is perhaps in the best position to unlock the mass-market potential of Virtual Reality.
Beyond mobile, Google is also making bold moves in the VR space; news recently broke that the company is patenting a pair of motorized VR roller skates. If you bet only on one company stock to succeed with VR, the safe bet might be on Google.
The Bottom Line
There are several different sub-sectors in the virtual reality space. Although gaming is benefiting the most from VR, it’s still uncertain where the most substantial growth will come from in the future.
That said, pay attention to companies that start using virtual reality to gain an edge in business. Some of those sectors include real estate, architecture, and medical.