35 Virtual Reality Statistics That Will Rock the Market in 2019

by Christo Petrov

Virtual reality, the overarching term for a variety of computer-generated experiences taking place within a simulated environment, has been a topic of interest among tech enthusiasts (and sci-fi fans) for years. As these virtual reality statistics you’ll read indicate, the time is approaching for this technology to take off among consumers as well as in the industry.

Eye-Opening Virtual Reality Statistics

  • The global AR and VR market is expected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022
  • 14 million AR and VR devices are expected to be sold in 2019
  • Global VR video gaming revenues are expected to reach $15.1B in 2019
  • There are more than 171M VR users worldwide
  • 78% of Americans are familiar with VR technology now
  • USA is the region with the largest AR/VR spending in 2018 at $6.4B
  • Demand for standalone VR devices will grow over 16 times between 2018 and 2022
  • 70% of VR headset-owning consumers have bought a game on it

Thanks to a number of factors—more affordable hardware, faster internet speeds, and a receptive audience—the growth figures have been striking over the last 4-5 years. The projections for the next few years are even more awe-inspiring.

As it happens with any new technology, estimates from different sources do not always match up; even one year of slower or faster performance than predicted can force major revisions in estimates; and the entry of a major player like Apple can completely change the ecosystem. With that in mind, we are sure these latest set of statistics will help provide a clearer idea of virtual reality market growth, changes in perception among consumers, and its utility in business.

Virtual reality market statistics

Let’s start with some general facts about the market.

1. The worldwide AR and VR market size is forecast to grow 7.7X between 2018 and 2022.

(Source: Statista, Greenlight Insights)

Augmented reality refers to addition of digital elements to a live view (e.g., Google Glass, Pokemon Go) while VR implies a  complete immersion into a simulated world. In 2018, the size of the worldwide augmented reality and virtual reality market was estimated to be $27 billion.

This is expected to grow to a whopping $209.2 billion in just 4 years.

According to another recent report by Greenlight Insights, global AR and VR revenues will total $209 billion by 2021. VR revenues will account for about 36% of this sum.

Since these are pre- or early-2018 virtual reality market projections, the actual figures are likely to be slightly lower because of an unexpected dip the VR devices market took over the course of 2018.

2. Consumer hardware accounts for the largest share (15.6%) of global VR and AR spending in 2018.

(Source: IDC)

The estimation of the global VR and AR market by IDC is a little lower than the size according to the source cited by Statista. Of the $17.8 billion global market size, the largest amount of spending is on consumer hardware, followed by VR games (6.6%), AR games (5.1%), and Onsite assembly and safety (3.1%), Retail showcasing (2.9%). The spending patterns are expected to be similar for the next few years.

3. More recent figures peg the worldwide VR market size at USD 8B in 2018.

(Source: ReportLinker)

So, in reality, how much is the VR market worth? The lackluster performance of the VR industry in 2018 has forced many stakeholders to revise their predictions. One of the more recent reports, released in January 2019, expects the VR market to grow from USD 7.9 billion in 2018 to USD 44.7 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 33.47%.

4. USA is the region with the largest AR/VR spending in 2018 at $6.4B.

(Source: IDC)

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) is the next biggest spender with $5.1 billion in 2018, followed by EMEA at $3 billion. Between 2018 and 2020, the US is expected to witness some acceleration in growth, while APeJ might see its spending growth slow down somewhat by the end of 2020.

5. 14 million AR and VR devices are expected to be sold in 2019.

(Source: CCS Insight)

There was a slight dip in the virtual reality market in 2018, with only 8 million devices being sold worldwide after reaching the figure of 10 million devices in 2017. This has made research firms recalibrate their predictions for the near future. From an earlier prediction of 121 million units being sold by 2022, CCS Insight revised the number to 52 million. In momentary terms, this will translate to a market value in 2022 of $ 8.5 billion.

6. The sales of smartphone VR devices have fallen by more than 60% between 2017 and 2018.

(Source: CCS Insight)

A major reason for the dip in the sales of devices is the decreasing interest among people for smartphone-based VR devices. Some of them have a number of issues, including that they are heavy and tie up the phone for the duration of use.

From close to 8 million such units being sold in 2017, the number fell to 3 million according to virtual reality statistics 2018. Standalone devices like Oculus Go, which do not require a smartphone to be inserted into the headset, are expected to drive future sales.

7. Demand for standalone VR devices will grow over 16 times between 2018 and 2022.

(Source: CCS Insight)

The latest forecasts show that the sale of standalone devices will grow from nearly zero in 2017 to more than half of the total AR and VR devices market in 2022 (29 million units). Tethered headsets, which require a connection with a computer, smartphone, or gaming console for use, will stay around for a while, selling 18 million units in 2022.

8. Worldwide spending on VR content and apps is forecast to reach $1.84B in 2019.

(Source: Statista)

According to VR statistics 2019, spending on location-based VR is expected to account for an additional $700 million. The total spending on VR content/apps and location-based VR is expected to rise from $2.54 billion in 2019 to $3.77 billion in 2021. Spending on AR content and apps is nearly 2.5 times that on VR content and is expected to grow at a higher pace as well.

9. Global VR video gaming sales revenues are expected to reach $15.1B in 2019.

(Source: Statista)

The market is projected to grow to $22.9 billion by 2020 from less than a billion dollars’ worth in 2015. Mobile VR gaming will show the highest growth in revenue, followed by PC and console segments. Adventure, action, and simulation games are the most popular VR gaming genres, with over 50% of gamers showing interest in them. According to various VR statistics, gaming is considered to account for about 50% of the VR software market, giving the approximate market value of VR software as $30 billion in 2019.

10. VR Gaming job postings increased by 93% between 2015 and 2018.

(Source: indeed.com)

17% of this growth took place during 2017-2018. These openings include jobs for game designers, producers, programmers, artists, as well as business, sales, and marketing roles. While VR failed to live up to its promise in the 90s, it seems to be finally picking up now. The opportunities for gaming jobs saw a major spurt after the launch of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, two game development kits that augmented reality statistics show have made it simpler to integrate AR/VR features in mobile games and apps.

11. Gaming will also remain the sector with the maximum VR investment, though its share is expected to come down.

(Source: Perkins Coie)

According to a worldwide survey of startup founders, tech company executives, investors, and consultants, 59% of respondents believe gaming will dominate the investment directed to the development of AR/VR technology during 2018-2019.

This number has come down from 78% two years earlier. Other major sectors seeing investment are education, health care, and real estate. The largest growth is expected in marketing and advertising, retail, and manufacturing and automotive.

12. The number of VR startups has increased by 14% in less than a year.

(Source: AngelList)

How many virtual reality companies are there? As of this writing, the number of VR startups worldwide listed on AngelList was 2,052, a significant jump from a little over 1,800 in May 2018. The list also mentions 970 investors, meaning that many of these startups have also managed to find significant funding to develop their projects.

Virtual Reality User Statistics

We now know the size of the market. But how keen are users on VR?

13. There are more than 171M VR users worldwide, up from 0.2M in 2014.

(Source: Statista)

The number of users of virtual reality has been growing at an extraordinary pace in the last 4 years. Even the jump between 2017 and 2018—90%—shows how rapid the growth of the market is. According to virtual reality user statistics 2018, only about 16 million of the 171 million users were innovators or hardcore gamers, while the rest were early adopters of different kinds.

14. 70% of VR headset-owning consumers have bought a game on it.

(Source: CCS Insight)

That gaming is the most popular use that VR is put to by consumers is also reflected in the high number of VR users who buy games. Nearly 70% of consumers who own a dedicated VR headset such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Sony Playstation VR have bought games for it. More than half of smartphone VR headset owners have also bought games for their device.

15. 78% of Americans are familiar with VR technology now.

(Source: Greenlight Insights, GlobalWebIndex)

This is a remarkable improvement from just 45% in 2015. Another recent virtual reality demographics study by GlobalWebIndex claims VR technology awareness to be as high as 90% among consumers in the UK and US.

Apart from simpler and cheaper devices like Google Daydream coming into the market, the rise in familiarity is also attributed to the coverage VR has received in the news.

Movies like Ready Player One and partial VR viewability of events like the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics have also contributed.

16. Only 28% of VR set owners use these devices daily.

(Source: Greenlight Ventures)

39% say they use VR sets once a week, 19% once a month, 8% once every six months, and 6% just about once a year. This compares poorly with other technologies like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

VR sets have traditionally been complicated, with multiple wires and controllers, or time-consuming to set up; variety of content has also not grown as fast as it has with other devices. Simpler devices like Oculus Go are likely to solve some of these issues.

17. Younger and male users are more likely to have used a VR headset.

(Source: GlobalWebIndex)

According to the GlobalWebIndex study of virtual reality user demographics in the UK and US, 35% of users in the 16 to 34 age group have used a VR headset, while the figure is 26% for the 35-44 group, 12% for the 45-54 group, and just 6% for the 55-64 group. In terms of gender, 30% of men surveyed had used a VR headset at least once compared to only 16% among women.

18. 77% of people who use VR want more social engagement in it.

(Source: Greenlight Ventures)

77% of the respondents of a consumer survey who own a VR headset say they are interested in social interactions with other people in VR. This interest is also reflected in virtual reality trends showing the popularity of apps that allow users to interact with other users in a virtual setting. Among social VR activities of interest, playing games, watching videos, and video communication rank the highest.

19. 70% of VR users intend to increase their use in the next year.

(Source: Greenlight Ventures)

With increasing familiarity and more content, there seems to be the possibility of a noticeable increase in VR use in the coming months. 38% of VR users say they intend to increase the use a lot more; 32% say they want to do so by a little more. Only 7% want to decrease the amount they are spending on VR devices.

20. Hardware cost is the biggest entry barrier keeping the VR adoption rate down.

(Source: GlobalWebIndex)

Users of high-end VR devices are slightly more likely (54%) to consider hardware cost as the primary reason preventing more users from adopting VR compared to budget (48%) or mid-range (50%) users. Budget and mid-range users are more likely to find issues with user interface or the viability of VR.

Issues like motion sickness with prolonged use or lack of viable use-cases are not a major concern for high-end device users. The second biggest entry barrier turns out to be the lack of sufficient content that can justify the investment in VR.

21. 64% of VR users think VR has the greatest potential in gaming.

(Source: GlobalWebIndex)

Almost two-thirds of users in the virtual reality survey believed that gaming is the area that will benefit the most from VR technology. This could also be a reflection of how the industry has developed so far, with the technology’s potential in other areas not really becoming as widely known. Other areas in decreasing order of expectations are film and TV (52%), sports viewing (42%), classroom education (41%), and social media (38%).

22. 53% of AR and VR aware users believe VR has a higher chance of hitting the mainstream first.

(Source: GlobalWebIndex)

Since both AR and VR technologies are broadly trying to transform the same industries, the public’s perception of their relative potential is an interesting aspect to gauge. Virtual reality statistics also indicate that once users have actually tried out both AR and VR, their perception changes, with 50% saying AR has a greater potential to hit the mainstream compared to 47% in favor of VR.

23. 76% of users had a positive perception of VR in 2017; 62% do so now.

(Source: ReportLinker)

The reality of VR technology has failed to live up to the hoopla around it for many consumers. Hardware issues, lack of content, and low growth beyond gaming are some of the issues that are making people think of VR as an overhyped fad. This is a matter of particular concern for the consumer VR industry that has failed to sustain the momentum behind the technology.

24. Samsung is the most widely known brand in VR technology.

(Source: Nielsen, ReportLinker)

Which VR is the best? Given the wide choice available, right from the very cheap Google Cardboard to the high-end HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, it depends on what you want and how much you are willing to spend.

The most well-known brand in VR, however, is Samsung, thanks to its Gear VR headset. This was also the case in 2017 when Samsung Gear VR was the most well-known device among the general population as well as gamers, even though the brand’s awareness seems to have come down in the last two years.

The next most popular brand is Sony with its PlayStation VR.

Virtual Reality in Industry

VR can be used by many companies. Let’s see some of the possibilities.

25. 43% of manufacturing companies say VR will become mainstream in their organization within the next three years.

(Source: Capgemini)

According to this survey of manufacturing companies from across the world, an additional 38% believe it will be a mainstream technology in their organization in three to five years. However, AR is seen as more relevant and is more widely implemented than VR in manufacturing.

26. Implementation level of VR in manufacturing is the highest in China at 51%.

(Source: Capgemini)

Through focused research and development efforts, direct investment, and building of human capital, Chinese firms, along with the Chinese government, have launched a concerted campaign to become the leader in VR technology. France is the European leader in this regard. USA scores very high on companies that have proof of concepts or pilots, but lags a bit in terms of wider scale implementation.

27. 82% of companies implementing AR/VR indicate that benefits exceed expectations.

(Source: Capgemini)

Operational benefits of AR and VR include increased efficiency, productivity, and safety. In terms of the scale of implementation, VR statistics show the companies that implement these technologies on a large scale are more likely to experience noticeable operational benefits.

28. Repair and maintenance is the most popular focus of AR/VR implementation efforts in manufacturing.

(Source: Capgemini)

Other parts of the value chain where AR and VR are seeing major implementation are design and assembly, immersive training, and inspection and quality assurance. Within repair and maintenance, jobs that get done using AR and VR include viewing of reference videos and digital manuals, remote expert assistance, visualization of specific components and functions behind physical barriers, and superimposition of step-by-step instructions.

29. Early achievers constitute 6% of all VR experimenters and implementers, but derive more than twice the benefits compared to other companies.

(Source: Capgemini)

Virtual reality data clearly shows that early achievers are witnessing, on average, 57% increase in efficiency as compared to 23% for other companies. Similar contrasting figures for other metrics are 55% vs. 23% for safety increase, 52% vs. 21% for productivity increase, and 47% vs. 19% for complexity reduction.

30. Investing in R&D teams or an innovation centre is the top strategy for expanding AR/VR initiatives among manufacturing companies.

(Source: Capgemini)

This opinion is shared by both early achievers and other companies. This is closely followed by upskilling employees by in-house specialized training, partnering with academic institutions, and hiring people with AR/VR expertise, in that order.

31. 80% of consumers feel positively towards experiencing branded VR tactics.

(Source: Touchstone Research)

This is great news for marketers. Jaded by conventional forms of advertising, consumers are keen on trying out new formats that allow them to experience brand stories in a more intimate manner. This virtual reality report on marketing shows that the environment is ripe for marketers to move fast to capture audience interest.

32. 20% of consumers say a branded VR experience would make them feel more positively towards the brand.

(Source: Touchstone Research)

Only 1% would feel negatively about it while the remaining consumers are neutral. If you have an advertising format where 1 in 5 customers are already in your favor for just using that format, it’s your battle to lose. According to the same research, VR also has high word-of-mouth marketability, with 81% of people who had already experienced VR reporting they had told their friends about it.

33. 13% of consumers say VR experiences will cause them to shop more in physical stores.

(Source: Walker Sands)

While more conventional and non-tech-intensive methods like F&B offerings, personalized experiences, and live product demonstrations remain the main draws for customers in physical stores, virtual reality trends show that VR experiences are catching up as a technology investment that business owners can make to encourage customers to spend more.

34. 75% of Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands have invested in some form of AR/VR experience.

(Source: YouVisit)

Leading brands are catching up to the potential of VR. The number of these experiences, which could be meant for consumers or employees, is likely to be much higher considering that this data is from a 2015 research.

35. 13% of people who experience a vacation in VR go on to book a trip or get in touch with hospitality companies.

(Source: YouVisit)

The lifelike rendering of experiences encourages consumers to spend money to experience the real deal, too. Similar virtual reality statistics include a 16% increase in donations to Amnesty International UK’s donations after people in UK experienced conditions in war-torn Syria through VR, a 190% increase in Thomas Cook’s VR-promoted New York excursion revenue, and 51% of Marriott’s customers expressing intent to travel to more hotels in the chain after the company showed VR travel stories from other locations to them.

References:

  1. Statista, Greenlight Insights
  2. IDC
  3. ReportLinker
  4. IDC
  5. CCS Insight
  6. CCS Insight
  7. CCS Insight
  8. Statista
  9. Statista
  10. indeed.com
  11. Perkins Coie
  12. AngelList
  13. Statista
  14. CCS Insight
  15. Greenlight Insights, GlobalWebIndex
  16. Greenlight Ventures
  17. GlobalWebIndex
  18. Greenlight Ventures
  19. Greenlight Ventures
  20. GlobalWebIndex
  21. GlobalWebIndex
  22. GlobalWebIndex
  23. ReportLinker
  24. Nielsen, ReportLinker
  25. Capgemini
  26. Capgemini
  27. Capgemini
  28. Capgemini
  29. Capgemini
  30. Capgemini
  31. Touchstone Research
  32. Touchstone Research
  33. Walker Sands
  34. YouVisit
  35. YouVisit

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