My introduction to virtual reality (VR) happened during my first viewing of “The Matrix.” While the credits rolled, I eagerly pondered the idea of entering another world.
The 1999 dystopian sci-fi film turned out to be somewhat prophetic. The virtual reality software industry is still growing and thankfully, is not as bleak. We’re witnessing an exciting time for VR, and it continues to evolve and become more approachable for the typical consumer. But even after dabbling with VR gaming here and there, I still marvel at the technology. The history of virtual reality proves how far it's come in such a short time.
While VR gaming is experiencing the majority of the growth, outlets such as social media platforms, sports teams and tourism industries are starting to embrace virtual reality. For example, VR helps athletes during football practice at Stanford University and has transformed the way players and coaches handle training. Not only does VR offer a safer method for practice, but it also measures the movements of the player for a more immersive and insightful training session.
2019 virtual reality statistics
Like augmented reality (AR) software, virtual reality is still in its discovery stages. Consumers are fairly aware of the technology, but there’s room for more accessibility, as well as an improved understanding of potential security threats. These statistics showcase the general awareness of virtual reality and its impact on current technology as it grows. (For more information regarding each of these statistics, check the linked source.)
Virtual reality adoption statistics
Despite being available to consumers for a significant amount of time, virtual reality is a slow burner when it comes to adoption. Price, lack of availability and other factors prevent typical consumers from gaining a spark of interest in VR. However, statistics show that once a consumer tries out virtual reality, interest grows and the intimidation factor fades.
- Virtual reality is expected to generate $150 billion in revenue by 2020. (Fortune, 2015)
- 500 million VR headsets are expected to be sold by 2025. (Piper Jaffrey, 2015)
- In 2016, only 28% of the general public was aware of virtual reality devices, demonstrating the industry’s potential for growth. Awareness of virtual reality devices rose to 51% in 2017. (Nielsen, 2017)
- 41% of adults said they would give virtual reality a try if given the opportunity. (Yulio Technologies, 2018)
- Around 50% of viewers showed some increase in their likelihood of purchasing or using VR technology after a brief informational experience. (Nielsen, 2016)
- 44% of the people interested in purchasing VR devices are between the ages of 18–35. (Yulio Technologies, 2018)
- According to a survey with 140 respondents in the VR and AR industry, 41% feel that the biggest obstacle blocking mass VR adoption is user experience issues, such as bulky hardware or technical glitches. (Perkins Coie LLP, 2018)
- 44% of respondents feel that the primary legal concern with VR adoption is consumer privacy/data security. (Perkins Coie LLP, 2018)
- 81% of consumers who try VR claim they would tell their friends about the experience, while 79% said they’d seek to try it again. (Singularity Hub, 2015)
- 65% of consumers believe pricing is the most powerful factor involved with purchasing a VR headset/device. (Singularity Hub, 2015)
- 60% of consumers would prefer to spend $400 or less on a VR headset/device. (Singularity Hub, 2015)
- 80% of consumers don’t have a particular brand of virtual reality in mind. For the 20% of consumers that do have a brand in mind, 48% of those are eyeing the Samsung Gear VR. 48% have a bigger interest in Playstation VR, and 44% would prefer to purchase an Oculus Rift. (Singularity Hub, 2015)
- 62% of parents agree that VR offers educational experiences for their children. (Tech Trends, 2018)
- 66% of consumers are interested in VR shopping experiences. (AR VR Journey, 2018)
Virtual reality usage statistics
As VR awareness sets in, so does VR usage. These statistics showcase the increasing numbers behind consumers using virtual reality.
- 22.4 million Americans are already virtual reality users. (Yulio Technologies, 2018)
- 77% of virtual reality users want more social engagement. (Forbes, 2018)
- 28% of people who own VR sets use them daily, 9% say they use their VR sets at least every week, and 19% say it's about once a month. (Forbes, 2018)
- An estimated 82 million virtual reality headsets will be in use by 2020. (Yulio Technologies, 2018)
- Around 11 million VR headsets were shipped in 2016. (Yulio Technologies, 2018)
- Usage is lower for families with children under 18. Only 21% of these families own a VR device and 13% are planning on purchasing a VR device in the next year. (Tech Trends, 2018)
Virtual reality gaming statistics
The gaming industry has truly embraced virtual reality as devices and games pop up on the market. Devices such as the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, or even the affordable Google Cardboard are entering consumer living rooms. With devices comes the need for VR games. With the help of VR game engine software, developers are cranking out VR games more than ever, further enticing gamers to invest in VR devices despite the price, which can typically range from $400–$800 for high-end devices.
- The global VR gaming market size is expected to be worth $22.9 billion by the end of 2020. (Statista, 2018)
- In Q3 2017, the total quarterly shipments of VR headsets exceeded 1 million units for the first time. (Canalys, 2017)
- Games earned 55% of VR software revenue in 2017. (SuperData Research, 2017)
- While mobile VR has more users, the platform earned 15% of VR game revenue in 2017. (SuperData Research, 2017)
- By 2025, the worldwide user base of AR and VR games is expected to grow to 216 million users. (NewGenApps, 2018)
- 50% of millennial consumers expressed favorable interest in virtual reality connected to a gaming system. (Singularity Hub, 2015)
- 77% of surveyed virtual reality executives agree that VR technology will impact the gaming industry more than any other industry in the next three years. (MediaKix, 2017)
- 77% of the population intending to purchase a VR device for gaming planned on playing VR games on a console device. 64% planned on playing VR games on a mobile device or tablet, and 28% planned on using a PC. (Nielsen, 2017)
- The top-earning PlayStation VR game in 2017 was “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR.” (SuperData Research, 2017)
- The top-earning PC VR game in 2017 was “Fallout 4 VR.” (SuperData Research, 2017)
- Monthly active VR users are up 160% year-over-year on Steam, a PC gaming marketplace. (Road to VR, 2018)
- 76% of children mostly use VR devices to play games. (Tech Trends, 2018)
Virtual reality media statistics
The gaming industry isn’t the only one tackling the power of virtual reality. Retailers, social media platforms and the tourism industry have much to gain from virtual reality. Even VR social media platforms are changing the way people socialize, enabling remote interactions and further evolving the way we communicate. These statistics prove the steady rise of VR in a variety of media platforms.
- 66% of consumers are interested in VR for TV, movies, and video, while 60% of consumers are interested in VR for gaming. (Singularity Hub, 2015)
- 60% of consumers that expressed interest in VR entertainment are seeking action/adventure, and 48% are interested in sci-fi. (Singularity Hub, 2015)
- Around 3.1 million people are subscribed to the YouTube 360 channel, YouTube’s official VR channel. (YouTube, 2019)
- Facebook now hosts 70 million 360-degree photos and 1 million 360-degree videos. So far, these videos have generated 580 million views. (Tech Trends, 2017)
- After creating a VR experience of the Great Bear Rainforest, Destination British Columbia experienced a 5% increase in visitors. (AR VR Journey, 2018)
- VR software and service revenue in retail is expected to generate $1.8 billion by 2022. (ABI Research, 2018)
What's next for VR?
There is plenty of room for virtual reality to flourish in the next few years as more consumers become aware of the technology and as prices become more affordable. The reality of VR remains to be an optimistic endeavor that many industries are embracing.
Ready to deep dive into VR trends? Check out the biggest 2019 AR/VR trends for a look into the industry’s potential for this year.