VR: Who’s using it? When? and How?


Executive Summary

How do consumers feel about VR? Who’s using it? What devices and apps do they prefer? And what do they want to see next? Perhaps more important, what are non-users’ reasons for disinterest? And how can VR software developers and hardware players optimize product strategies accordingly?

These are key questions at VR’s early stages that we set out to answer. Working closely with Thrive Analytics, ARtillery Intelligence wrote questions to be presented to more than 1,000 U.S. adults in Thrive’s established consumer survey engine. And we’ve analyzed the results in a narrative report.

This follows similar reports we’ve completed over the last two years. Wave IV of the research now emboldens our perspective and brings new insights and trend data to light. All four waves represent a collective base of 9,079 U.S. adults for robust longitudinal analysis. This capability will continue to improve.

Meanwhile, what did we find out? At a high level, 19 percent of consumers surveyed have bought or used a VR headset, up from 16 percent in 2019. More importantly, VR users indicate high levels of satisfaction with the experience: 55 percent reported extreme or moderate satisfaction with VR.

As for price sensitivity, demand inflects at $400 and $200. These are interestingly the price points for Oculus headsets including Quest, Rift S and GO. This indicates Oculus’ competitive edge, aggressive price competition and accelerating market share, congruent with our separate projections.

Furthermore, standalone VR – embodied by Oculus Quest, Go and other emerging headsets – represents a key inflection point for VR this year. Though still early, standalone VR addresses many consumer objections to PC-based VR including cost and setup friction.

However, it’s not all good news: Non-VR users report relatively low interest in VR ownership – 27 percent, down from 31 percent in 2019 – and explicit lack of interest. This downward trend in interest is concerning for VR but isn’t surprising given the dip in excitement we’ve anecdotally observed.

Moreover, the disparity between current-user satisfaction and non-user disinterest underscores a key challenge for VR: you have to “see it to believe it.” In order to reach high satisfaction levels, VR has to first be tried. This presents marketing and logistical challenges for the industry to push that first taste.

But if anything is going to bring that accessibility and interest to mainstream markets, it’s the lowered pricing and compelling play of standalone VR headsets like Oculus Quest. The device continues to turn heads and break pricing barriers, given Oculus’ loss-leader pricing strategy to subsidize hardware in order to build a network effect.

These points join several other strategic implications that flow from the latest consumer VR sentiments. We’ll examine those takeaways in the coming pages, including the latest wave of findings, and our analysis for what it means. The goal is to empower you with a greater knowledge position.

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ARtillery Intelligence has partnered with Thrive Analytics by writing the questions for the Virtual Reality Monitor consumer survey. These questions were fielded to more than 1000 U.S. Adults. ARtillery Intelligence wrote this report, containing its insights and viewpoints on the survey results.

For market sizing and analysis, ARtillery Intelligence follows disciplined best practices, developed and reinforced through its principles’ 15 years in research and intelligence in the tech sector. This includes the past 4.5 years covering AR & VR exclusively, as seen in research reports and daily reporting.

Thrive Analytics likewise follows best practices in consumer research, developed over its long tenure as a consumer research firm. More details about the survey sample (demographics, etc.) can be seen in this report’s introduction and more on ARtillery Intelligence market-sizing research and methodologies can be read here.

Disclosure & Ethics Statement

ARtillery Intelligence has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this report, nor received payment for its production. With respect to market sizing, ARtillery Intelligence remains independent of players and practitioners in the sectors it covers, thus mitigating bias in industry revenue calculations and projections. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen in full here.

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