There was a time in the early 1990s when you couldn’t pick up a magazine or watch a movie without virtual reality experiences tempting you to tumble down a digital rabbit hole with Alice and the White Rabbit.
Then – poof! It all seemed to vanish. Virtual reality statistics show that VR started disappearing from the public eye during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Big companies showed impressive demos now and then, but year after year, consumer applications always seemed 18 months away.
Virtual reality never really left. It just shifted focus from entertainment to fields like medicine and military training. A sibling – augmented reality – has found widespread adoption by delivering many of VR’s promised benefits without the clunky helmets and bulky gloves.
Is it finally time for VR, or is the technology’s tipping point still 18 months away? Let’s take a look at some VR statistics in 2019 and find out.
Key virtual reality statistics for 2020
- The global virtual and augmented reality market in 2019 is estimated to be $16.8 billion.
- As of 2018, there are 171 million active VR users in the world.
- The global virtual reality market is expected to top $34 billion by 2023.
- 42.9 million people in the US will use virtual reality at least once a month in 2019.
- Gaming and entertainment media hold 40.5% of the virtual reality market share.
Virtual reality industry statistics
1. The global virtual and augmented reality market is estimated at $16.8 billion.
According to Statista’s augmented and virtual reality market forecast, this number is rising steady and could potentially reach a staggering $160 billion by 2023. Both AR and VR industry growth are predicted to skyrocket in the coming years, and the VR adoption rate will keep increasing.
2. As of 2018, there were 171 million active virtual reality users in the world.
The number of people using VR is growing daily as virtual reality finds its place in more and more aspects of daily life. We are currently witnessing an explosive increase in the use of virtual reality in the gaming industry, with 16 million VR users defining themselves as hardcore gamers
3. 42.9 million people in the US will use virtual reality at least once a month in 2019.
That adds up to 13% of the total population. Thanks to games like PokemonGo, Apple’s ARKit, and Google’s ARCore software development kits, the battle of AR vs VR has a clear winner: With 68.7 million projected users, augmented reality is still more widely used. However, VR market share is increasing as virtual reality technology gets more sophisticated and simpler to use. Price is another factor. VR statistics are expected to improve as headsets become cheaper and more widely available
4. At $6.6 billion, the US has the highest AR and VR expenditures in 2019.
According to IDC’s augmented and virtual reality industry report, the US is closely followed by China at $6 billion. Japan is in a distant third place with $1.76 billion, followed by western Europe ($1.74 billion). The US and China will continue to dominate virtual reality in 2020, but western Europe is expected to overtake Japan. Canada is expected to have the fastest growth rate over the next few years.
5. At 15.6%, consumer hardware holds the largest share of global AR/VR spending.
This is followed by VR games at 6.6% and AR games at 5.1%. Other notable VR sales figures include online assembly and safety (3.1%) and retail showcasing (2.9%). If we consider the price of VR headsets, these figures come as no surprise. If you’re wondering how much is a VR headset typically, Oculus Rift starts at $399 and HTC Vive at $499. It’s clear that the high equipment price is a major factor slowing the wider adoption of VR.
6. Mobile head-mounted displays will amount to 75% of VR display devices sold by 2020.
When it comes to both augmented and virtual reality headsets, mobile devices are in the lead. Five million head-mounted VR units were sold in 2016 and this number is expected to rise to 68 million by next year. Samsung Gear and Google Daydream are the most popular VR headsets for mobile phones. The much lower price compared to console and PC headsets – and the fact mobile headsets are often bundled with premium phones – are key factors that contribute to their rapid market proliferation. Samsung Gear and Google Daydream are hovering at the $100 range – compare that to $999 for Valve Index and it all starts to make sense.
7. Product sales and subscriptions are the primary methods 48% of companies use to generate VR revenue.
Nearly half – 48% – of respondents to a recent survey said that their primary monetization method in 2019 will be subscriptions and virtual reality sales. This number is significantly lower than the 2018 predictions (59%).
VR trends, when it comes to monetization, are moving toward in-app purchases within “freemium” apps (41%) and in-app advertising (39%).
8. User experience is the top obstacle to wider VR adoption, say 27% of survey respondents.
Despite the high prices of VR headsets, virtual reality market growth is mostly stymied by the poor user experience offered by current products. Among those interviewed for a Perkins Coie survey, 27% said that technical glitches, bugs, and bulky headsets are the primary deterrents to a higher VR adoption rate.
This number is much lower than in 2018 (41%), suggesting that VR is getting more user-friendly. Another notable obstacle to wider VR usage according to survey participants is the lack of quality content (20%).
9. Consumer privacy and data security are cited by ⅗ of companies as the biggest legal obstacles to wider VR software adoption.
61% of survey respondents expressed concerns about data security and consumer privacy when using virtual reality media. This mirrors a global trend of new technologies posing an increasing security risk in the eyes of consumers and corporations. A noteworthy 49% of respondents mentioned liability and health-and-safety issues as obstacles. Licensing difficulties and potential third-party copyright infringement were mentioned by 32% and 30% of those interviewed.
Virtual reality user statistics
10. 78% of Americans are familiar with VR technology.
According to a Greenlight Insights report, this number has risen sharply from only 45% in 2015, showing that people are getting more and more comfortable with VR. The survey’s virtual reality statistics show that 55% of Gen Z respondents who say they are familiar with VR have also tried it. In the 55+ age bracket, that figure drops to 19%. Younger people are clearly spearheading VR market growth.
11. 41% of adults say they would try virtual reality if given the opportunity.
According to a survey conducted by Yulio Technologies, nearly half of those over the age of 18 said that they would give VR a shot if they could.
12. More than 60% of parents think that VR can offer educational content for their children.
(Common Sense Media)
While 60% of parents are concerned about VR health and safety issues, 62% say they can see virtual reality uses in enhancing their children’s education. In practice, only 22% of children who have access to VR gear use their headsets for education, compared to 76% who use it for gaming. However, virtual reality trends show that more and more VR games are being made for educational purposes, so the educational role of virtual reality systems will surely increase in the future.
13. Children’s exposure to inappropriate VR content is the #1 concern for parents.
(Common Sense Media)
Researchers say 70% of parents worry that their children may experience inappropriate sexual or violent content while using a virtual reality device. Other concerns: 67% worry that exposure to virtual reality media may lead to too much time spent in the virtual world, and 61% believe that VR abuse could lead to social isolation.
14. 44% of the people interested in purchasing VR devices are between the ages of 18–35.
VR demographics are definitely skewed toward the younger generations. This number matches earlier research by Nielsen, which reported in 2017 that millennials (aged 18 to 34) account for 44% of those interested in purchasing VR devices.
When we consider that the current VR revolution started with Oculus Rift on Kickstarter, it is logical that the tech-savvy younger generations are at the forefront.
15. Among people who intend to purchase VR devices, 69% are men and 31% are women.
Another important statistic when it comes to virtual reality user demographics is that among those who intend to purchase a VR system someday, more than 2/3 are men. This is probably explained by the fact that gaming is currently the major draw of VR, and males still make up the majority of today’s gaming audience.
16. Nearly 80% of virtual reality users are looking for more social engagement.
According to a Greenlight Insights survey of 4,217 consumers, 77% say they are looking for social interaction when using their VR devices. Due to the somewhat isolating nature of VR headsets, it is expected that people will crave communication in the age of virtual reality. The huge popularity of gaming in VR is another factor that contributes to increased demand for social interaction in the virtual world.
Virtual reality market growth statistics
17. The worldwide virtual reality market is expected to reach $34.08 billion by 2023.
(Research and Markets)
It was valued at $8.90 billion in 2018, so we are seeing rapid growth in VR sales projections. An approximated $6.4 billion of the total $34.08 billion will be software revenue. Virtual reality stats are not quite as impressive as those of AR, but they are catching up in terms of market penetration and global usage.
18. North America has the best VR investment and growth potential according to 62% of investors.
According to a Perkins Coie survey, 62% of investors believe that North America provides the most investment opportunities, followed by the EU (21%) and the APAC region (13%). This supports the company’s VR market forecast, which predicts that those sectors will experience the largest growth.
19. At 83.7%, Canada has the highest compound annual growth rate potential when it comes to AR and VR spending.
Speaking of virtual reality future predictions, Canada is forecaste to have the largest CAGR, followed by the United States with 77.1%, China with 76.2%, and Western Europe with 75.9%. This aligns with industry investors’ predictions that North America and Asia will continue to be the prime AR and VR investment regions.
20. An estimated 100 million consumers will be using AR and VR technologies to shop by 2020.
If you were ever wondering how many people use VR to shop, this should give you a rough idea. It’s a huge and growing market. Virtual reality statistics from Gartner’s survey confirm the strong link between shopping and altered-reality platforms. We can expect large online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and AliExpress to pick up on these trends and incorporate more AR and VR content into their shopping platforms. It’s a trend worth pursuing not only for online marketplaces, however. Brick-and-mortar shops are also advised to take notice.
21. 70% of VR headsets users plan to use them more often during the next year.
According to a Greenlight Insights survey, 38% of respondents intend to use VR “a lot more” and 32% “a little more.” Only 7% of those interviewed said that they will use it less. Even gamers, who tend to spend more time with their virtual reality gaming system of choice than the average VR user, plan to make more use of VR in the future.
22. VR is estimated to generate $1.8 billion in the retail and marketing segments in 2022.
Digital marketing and e-commerce have already changed the way many companies do business. ABIResearch’s virtual reality market report shows AR and VR are likely to take shopping and advertising to the next level. As customers demand more interactive shopping experiences, the list of virtual reality using companies is growing daily. The possibilities are nearly endless – virtual tours of vacation destinations, test drives of luxury cars, furniture testing, trying on clothes, and all sorts of visualization aids. Experts say it’s an investment that will pay for itself quickly. Companies looking to expand their marketing strategies should strongly consider starting to contribute to VR statistics in 2019 if they haven’t done so already.
Virtual Reality Media and Gaming Statistics
23. Gaming and entertainment media account for 40.5% of the virtual reality market.
(Fortune Business Insights)
With more than 40% of the VR market share in 2018, gaming and entertainment are the dominant force in the virtual reality market. Following them are healthcare, education, automotive, aerospace, and defense. However, most of the content produced for VR platforms is aimed at gaming and social interaction. Most people use VR to play video games or watch movies. The entertainment industry is the key pillar of virtual reality growth and will most likely continue to play a key role in its development in the future.
24. Video games and social content account for nearly 80% of the content currently developed for augmented, mixed, virtual, and cross reality platforms.
Researchers say 48% of the content is developed for the video game industry and 31% is social. This is followed by 26% allocated to creating advertising content, 25% to live streaming, 24% to film and entertainment, 22% to news and 20% to music. VR development is focused around gaming, entertainment, and social media – which is no surprise, considering how huge those industries are and how many people use VR to play games, interact with others, and watch TV shows. Social networks present an ideal platform for advertising as well, and many companies already use AR and VR in both their brick-and-mortar and online stores.
25. 53.9% of US consumers expect to use VR to play video games.
Must people using VR count on it when playing video games. Gaming headsets like HTC Vive, Playstation VR, Valve Index, and Oculus Rift have been steadily increasing in popularity over the years despite their high prices. Researchers say 44.5% of consumers are expected to watch entertainment videos or use VR for travel and virtual tours, 29.9% are expected to use virtual reality for educational purposes, and 20.8% for shopping.
26. Investors say they are most interested in VR in gaming.
54% of investors interviewed by Perkins Coie estimated that gaming will draw the highest VR investments in the next 12 months. Virtual reality sales are still predominantly focused around gaming, so we can expect investments in this sector to increase in the future as well. Gaming investments are expected to be followed by investments in healthcare (43%), education (36%), and military/defense (28%), which shows that the industry believes those sectors are going to see more VR usage in the future.
27. With 2.2 million estimated shipments, Sony remains the world’s largest vendor of VR devices.
If we look at how many VR headsets they sold so far in 2019, Sony remains the undisputed king of virtual reality devices with its Playstation VR gaming console. Sales projections have risen to 2.2 million compared to last year’s 2 million units sold.
Oculus Rift sales numbers are impressive too, as nearly 1 million units were shipped in 2018. Predictions for 2019 are nearly double: 1.7 million.
HTC Vive sales numbers put it in a distant third place, with a minor improvement over last year: $0.8 million vs $0.6 million in 2018.
28. 77% of people using AR and VR for gaming prefer to game on consoles.
Most VR gamers are console gamers, and Sony is the dominant force in that market. Following consoles, mobile VR gaming is a significant force, with 64% of those interviewed by Nielsen saying that they play virtual or augmented reality games on their mobile phones or tablets. Augmented reality games like PokemonGo are major contributors to the popularity of mobile gaming, and AR headsets tend to be much cheaper and more widely available than their VR counterparts.
Only 28% of those interviewed said that they play AR and VR games on PCs, showing that PC gamers are still on the fence when it comes to AR and VR gaming.
29. More than 60% of people find out about AR and VR trends through social media.
According to startup and small-business owners, as well as industry experts and consultants interviewed by Perkins Coie, social media plays a large role in learning about virtual reality facts and trends. Industry association publications and dedicated websites are the primary source of information for 69% of respondents, but social media is rapidly closing in at 64%. This is another statistic that shows that the social aspect of VR is one of the key elements that the industry needs to pay attention to in the future.
30. More than 3 million people have subscribed to YouTube 360, YouTube’s official VR channel.
This may not seem like a large number compared with other statistics on this list, but YouTube subscribers look for new VR videos almost every day. YouTube VR is rapidly gaining in popularity, and considering how influential the platform is, we can expect it to play an important role in the popularization of VR in the future.
Is VR worth it?
We would say yes. However, you have to decide how you are going to use it and why.
Gaming in VR is a fantastic experience, but even though prices are coming down, virtual reality gaming systems are still expensive. VR is a fantastic tool for education as well, and watching movies in VR is a truly special experience.
How much is a virtual reality set?
The most popular VR sets start at $268 – that’s the Playstation VR. However, sets can go as high as $699 for the new HTC Vive Cosmos and $999 for the Steam VR solution, Valve Index.
What is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?
Augmented reality adds virtual elements to a live view, while virtual reality refers to complete immersion in a digital world. Augmented and mixed reality systems often use smartphone cameras while consumers are transported into virtual worlds through headsets that shut out the physical world around them.
Can virtual reality be dangerous for your health?
There are no major studies that we know of, but ophthalmologists agree that VR is no worse for the eyes than a computer screen. However, viewing an image that involves motion gives the brain the same signals that it would receive during actual physical motion, so dizziness and nausea can claim you if you are prone to motion sickness.
Is virtual reality growing?
Definitely. Virtual reality statistics show that people are using VR more than ever, and researchers predict rapid market growth in years to come. Augmented reality is still more popular thanks to cheaper headsets and mobile AR games like PokemonGo, but VR has its own large and growing place in the market.