In 2016, $3.7 billion in global revenue was generated from selling virtual reality software and hardware. By 2020, the virtual reality industry is predicted to generate a total revenue of more than $20 billion. Currently, competition in the virtual reality space is stiff with top players like Google, Facebook, Samsung, and Sony racing to create a form of virtual reality gear that appeals to the masses.
As virtual reality technology has advanced, social media developers have taken to the technology as the next step in online interaction. Augmented reality, a form of virtual reality in which digital elements are superimposed over images of the real world, has become a mainstay of Snapchat and Instagram. Games like Pokemon Go have also surged in popularity, showing the general public’s receptiveness to virtual reality technology.
Here we’ve outlined the top virtual reality statistics proving the industry’s growth, illustrating the demographics of its users, and offering insight into where the technology may be headed. As virtual reality develops and becomes increasingly accessible, its popularity is likely to continue to grow rapidly.
A recent report analyzed the global revenue generated by the virtual reality industry. In 2016, $3.7 billion in revenue was generated by selling virtual reality hardware and software.
By 2020, the global virtual reality industry is predicted to generate $21.5 billion in revenue, a huge jump of over 4x in just four years.
American awareness of virtual reality and augmented reality devices nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017. For a bit of context, 51% of the U.S. population is more than 161M people.
Last year, only 28% of the general U.S. public was aware of virtual reality devices, demonstrating the industry’s potential for growth.
A recent study examined U.S. virtual reality use and found that 22.4 million Americans experience virtual reality at least once a month. It’s predicted that by 2018, the number of U.S. virtual reality users will grow to 36.7 million, over a 60% increase in just one year.
In 2016, 87% of the virtual reality headsets sold worldwide were mobile phone-based, meaning a user’s smartphone mounted into the headset and operated as the screen. Popular mobile phone VR headsets include the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View.
Young American consumers are most interested in virtual reality devices, and virtual reality is most popular among young males. A recent study found that 69% of U.S. males intend to purchase a VR or AR device, compared to only 31% of females.
Currently, Samsung is outpacing all other companies manufacturing virtual reality hardware and software. In 2016, Samsung’s Gear VR, a virtual reality headset sold for USD $39.99, was the best selling virtual reality headset worldwide.
Big brands Google, HTC, and Sony are also selling virtual reality gear, but haven’t seen sales comparable to Samsung.
In 2014, Facebook purchased the virtual reality company Oculus Rift for a self-reported $2 million. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and CEO, commented that “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow.”
Evidently, Zuckerberg is willing to bet on virtual reality as the next progression of online social interaction.
As of October 2017, Amazon has 271 products listed under the category “virtual reality headset” that are available for purchase.
Second to gaming, 36% predict that the technology will most impact the education industry. 27% predict the architecture industry will be most strongly impacted by VR between 2017 and 2020.
Interestingly, females account for 44.6% of online shoppers who bought console, mobile, and PC games. It seems that females are interested in gaming, but not necessarily virtual reality yet.
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