One consumer trend impossible to ignore is that of VR headset market. Whether we are talking about the sub-$20 Google Cardboard devices or the $799 HTC Vive, virtual reality has already made a deep footprint in the tech industry. With millions of higher-end VR headsets expected to ship in 2016 alone and millions more of the cheaper smartphone-powered devices also adopted by consumers across the planet, the virtual reality space is in the midst of a strong march forward.
While there hasn’t been a whole lot of advertising related to either the Rift, Vive or any of the more affordable devices, there still seems to be a rather large portion of the population who are aware of this coming technological wave of change. A recent research report issued by NewZoo has uncovered some interesting statistics related VR buying trends among Western consumers. The report found that approximately 11% of all Western consumers between the ages of 10 and 65, who have access to an internet connection, are considering purchasing a virtual reality headset in the near-term. Out of this 11%, approximately 63% of these individuals consider themselves ‘Esports fans’. For those unfamiliar with the classification, an Esport is basically the sportification of video gaming.
“Game software revenues from VR will remain marginal for the near future and be absorbed into current PC, console, and mobile game revenues,” Peter Warman, Newzoo’s founder and chief executive, told VentureBeat. “We will leave guestimates on the future size of the total VR market in revenues to the experts in hardware and online retail sales. We are specialists in game revenues and gamer behavior. Hence, our effort is to research and report on VR from a consumer perspective because ultimately, in the long-term, VR and AR will change how consumers communicate and interact with content.”
The gaming and experience space is certainly driving the market, and although 11% seems quite low when one considers the adoption rate of technologies such as smartphones, tablets and even video game consoles, the technology basically just broke onto the scene weeks ago, at least from a higher-end perspective. Additionally, the 11% figure could equate to over 20 million headsets being sold in the United States alone, and as new content continues to stream in, companies begin to market VR to a larger portion of the populace, and individuals are able to get first hand tastes of the technology via friends, colleagues and family members, there is little doubt that the pool of individuals considering a purchase in the near future will only continue to rise.
While 2016 is just a launching point for what is likely to be a tsunami of innovation and change within the gaming and media spaces, it’s likely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to VR and AR adoption rates among consumers. Are you among the 11%? Let us know in the VR/AR Adoption Rate forum on VRTalk.com