VR: Who’s using it? When? and How?

 

Executive Summary

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

These are the questions we set out to answer. Working closely with Thrive Analytics, ARtillery Intelligence wrote questions to be presented to more than 46,000 U.S. adults through Thrive’s established consumer survey engine. The results are in and we’ve analyzed the takeaways in a narrative report.

This follows similar reports we’ve completed over the past five years (and last month’s similar report on AR). Wave V of the research now emboldens our perspective and brings new insights and trend data to light. All five waves represent a significant sample of U.S. adults for robust longitudinal analysis. This will continue to expand with each survey wave.

So what did we find out? At a high level, 23 percent of households own or have access to a VR headset, up from 19 percent in 2020. More importantly, VR users indicate high levels of satisfaction with the experience: 70 percent are either satisfied or extremely satisfied.

As for price sensitivity, demand inflects in the $200-$400 price range. This is notably the price range where Oculus Quest 2 resides. This validates evidence we’ve seen elsewhere – and market-sizing estimates we’ve made – for Quest 2’s growth. It continues to hold a quality edge, aggressive price competition, and accelerating VR market share.

Furthermore, standalone VR – embodied by Quest 2 and other emerging headsets – represents a key inflection point. Though still early, standalone VR addresses many consumer objections to PC-based VR including cost, confinement, and setup friction.

However, it’s not all good news: Non-VR users report relatively low interest in VR ownership – 20 percent, down from 29 percent in Wave IV – and explicit ambivalence towards the technology. This downward trend is concerning for VR, as public interest in the technology continues to wane from its peak during the industry’s circa-2017 hype cycle.

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 Quest 2. 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, as always, is to empower you with a knowledge edge.

 

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Methodology

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 46,000 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 tech sector research and intelligence. This includes the past 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 can be seen in this report’s introduction and more on ARtillery Intelligence research and methodology 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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