17 Mind-Boggling Virtual Reality Statistics from the Past 5 Years

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Virtual reality is the future. There are no two opinions about that. It’s rapidly infiltrated every aspect of our entertainment lives in the past few years — from gaming and movie-watching to professional sports training, VR has changed the world we live in. Virtual reality statistics are equally mind-boggling and…

Wait a second.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

First things first…

What is VR?

VR tech (which stands for virtual reality technology, in case you missed it) uses computer technology to create a simulation of an immersive experience. This simulation can be anything — from a wondrous fantastical environment, to your parents’ basement. VR is always accompanied by a head-mounted display (HMD), which (in part) makes all that magic possible.

What is VR like?

Think of VR as being kind of like the Matrix but in a duller, more 21st century style. You can walk in meadows and mountains, fight with fantastical creatures, or go on a virtual tour of Machu Picchu, for examples. With the headset on, you become completely immersed in the simulated reality that is projected for you — both by image and sound.

How many VR games are there?

Plenty. There are 500+ games just for PlayStationVR alone!

You might be wondering now — is this all that VR is good for? Shooting pixels in high definition and immersing yourself in a hyper-realistic world?

Actually, that’s not quite the case. In recent years VR and AR (augmented reality) have found a more practical usage… in nearly every industry out there. The healthcare market, education, business… you name it. Given VR’s limitless interactivity, it can be used to teach, train medical personnel and test prototypes with significantly less risk than the real deal. How neat is that?

VR is innovative, awesome and definitely here to stay. Let me show you just how great it is and why you should care — by showcasing the best of the best VR facts out there!

VR Statistics group of people

Virtual reality statistics 2020 [that BLEW my mind away]

  • The global VR and AR markets combined are forecast to amount up to 209.2 billion USD by 2022
  • China invested $593 million in VR technology between 2015 and 2016
  • 78% of Americans are familiar with using VR technology
  • Gaming and entertainment services account for 50% of total VR market share
  • 14 million AR and VR devices have been sold in 2019

Let’s dig into these (and more) fascinating virtual reality facts into the following paragraphs. Let’s start with the fact that…

1. The global VR and AR markets combined are forecast to amount up to 209.2 billion USD by 2022

(Source: Statista, Greenlight Insights)

Do you know what was the size of the combined VR and AR market in 2018? No? Make a guess…

It was estimated to be $27 billion. Not great, but not terrible, right? To put this number into perspective, you should know that there are around 1 billion AR users in 2020. However, virtual reality market growth is expected to increase 7.7 times by 2022 — to reach the whopping number of 209.2 billion USD. Can you imagine? Not even Kylie Jenner has that much in her bank account — maybe she should have invested in the VR global expansion instead of makeup…

2. China invested $593 million in VR technology between 2015 and 2016

(Source: GlobalMe)

If you think the US is the biggest player on the virtual reality hardware market, you’re wrong. The US is the second best guess, because they are losing to the winner – China.

Step back from popular VR headsets such as PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift — and make way for Mi VR, courtesy of Xiaomi. This headset was sold out the very first day it came out in December 2016, which can give you a good overview of the Chinese virtual reality market size.

Interestingly enough, a large majority of this $593 million investment in the technology in China comes from… the Chinese government. It is part of their “Internet plus” initiative, which wants to encourage businesses to march on toward digitalization and using modern technologies.

3. 78% of Americans are familiar with using VR technology

(Source: Greenlight Insights)

Let’s play another guessing game. Knowing (assuming you read this section’s title!) that 78% of Americans are familiar with VR now, can you guess how many Americans were familiar with VR back in 2015?

45%. No tense pauses here — I will let that 32% increase over just 5 years speak for itself. I am guessing it won’t be long before the whole world has converted to VR — what a time to be alive!

Media contributes greatly to these positive virtual reality trends — you can thank movies like Ready Player One for that. The VR elements in viewability of major sports events (like the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics) also played their part in spreading the good word.

4. Gaming and entertainment services account for 50% of total VR market share as of 2019

(Source: 3D Insider)

It makes sense that VR and gaming go hand-in-hand… or is that just me?

Even though gaming is not a big deal when we are talking about VR headset sales, it becomes a very big deal when we are discussing VR software sales. Making up 50% of the market share, which amounts to around $30 billion (in 2019), VR gaming is a force to reckon with. In the future, VR game sales are only going to go up. In fact, 64% of VR users are certain that gaming is the business that has most to gain from the growth of VR technology.

Who’s to say what lies ahead in game innovation? Will we finally be able to play a fully-immersive VR lifelike experience of the Witcher 3? Who knows, who knows…

5. 14 million AR and VR devices have been sold in 2019

(Source: CCS Insight)

In 2018, the unthinkable happened — there was a decline in virtual reality devices sales. The year marked only 8 million devices sold, which wasn’t great, considering the 10 million units sold in the previous year. However, that appeared to be just a small hiccup, as sales soared in 2019 — reaching 14 million devices!

This rise in sales is expected to gain even more momentum in the future. Virtual reality statistics predict that by the end of 2022, the number of sales will reach 52 million units. If you want to talk about money, this translates to $8.5 billion market value in 2022.

Not too shabby, eh?

Virtual reality industry statistics

Virtual reality industry statistics

Don’t think that I am done with you yet — now that you got a taste of the awesomeness of VR, here are some more stats about this fast growing industry. Hold onto your hats because the following virtual reality statistics just might blow you away!

1. 171 million people use VR technology today

(Source: Statista, Market Watch)

Given that there are 14 million Head-Mounted Displays sold in 2019, it’s no wonder that the number of people using VR is also considerable. Namely, 171 million people worldwide.

This is a fascinating stat, considering that the jump between 2017 and 2018 was 90%! VR adoption rate marks a steady growth as 35% of surveyed business executives say they adopted AR or VR technology into at least one business unit. It’s also worth noting that 16 million out of the 171 million worldwide users identify themselves as either innovators or hardcore gamers. As for the rest — they are early consumers of various kinds.

2. There is an expectation of 98.4 million sales by 2023 in VR

(Source: Forbes)

Predictions for VR are brighter than my future — VR sales projections worldwide are expected to hit 98.4 million by 2023, generating an installed base of 168 million units and a 2% worldwide population penetration. All countries are getting into VR and China is steady in leading the way.

As 5G is also coming soon to your friendly neighborhood network, the hopes for future virtual reality progress are higher than ever. The experience is expected to be more accessible, steady and immersive. Perhaps this leap in technology will further increase the ever so rapid evolution of virtual reality.

3. VR-related job openings in the gaming industry increase by 93%

(Source: Indeed)

With so much going on in the VR world it’s no wonder that jobs in this sector are soaring. 17% of the growth happened during 2017-2018, as well as job openings, mainly came from the VR software companies: game designers, producers, programmers and artists, as well as business and sales professionals.

The golden goose for gaming in VR came with Apple’s ARKit, as well as Google’s ARCore, and things haven’t been the same since. According to AR statistics, these two handy pieces of hardware made it easier to integrate games specifically to be more AR/VR suitable.

And which are the biggest VR game developers in the US, you might be wondering? New York City’s Rockstar Games takes the first place, followed by Activision Blizzard and Naughty Dog from LA and Popcap Games from Seattle.

So, in case you were ever wondering: “How much does a virtual reality designer make?”, the answer to that question is — a lot.

4. VR arcades are slowly becoming an important part of the gaming industry

(Source: Viar 360)

VR technology is still quite expensive. Many consumers are hesitant to make a purchase, as they aren’t sure it would be justified. Will they like it? Will they play enough? What if it gets boring?

Enter VR arcades.

Similarly to what happened in the 80’s, VR arcades nowadays contribute to a positive feedback loop, where arcade players feed the industry, which in turn produces cheaper consoles, which in turn attract more players. Don’t think I am making this up – VR arcades have contributed to a major rise in total gaming VR industry growth — $286.7 million in 2018 to be exact. After all, it is much cheaper to spend $25 for 30 minutes of VR extravaganza at the arcade, than to buy a $400 virtual reality full set. Just saying.

5. The number of installed virtual reality headsets is estimated to grow to 37 million by 2020

(Source: Statista)

This rapid expansion of virtual reality adds up to an estimated 37 million VR units sold by the end of 2020. Remember how some paragraphs ago I told you that there were 14 million devices sold in 2019 — this is more than a 60% increase in sales!

Let’s do a quick roundup on the evolution of VR headset usage:

  • 2015 – 2.9 million devices
  • 2016 – 7 million devices
  • 2017 – 10 million devices
  • 2018 – 8 million devices
  • 2019 – 14 million devices
  • 2020 – 37 million devices

Talk about a positive VR market forecast! Maybe by 2025 all of us will have their own individual headset at home…

Virtual reality user statistics 2020

Virtual reality user stats

You didn’t think I was finished with throwing awesome virtual reality facts at you, right? We are almost at the end, but I have saved the best for last — so you’ll want to pay your utmost attention here!

1. Only 14% of VR device purchases are made by women

(Source: The Brief Blog)

Oh come on, you aren’t surprised that the VR demographics are dominated by men, right? A 2016 report, that studied 4 million Americans, found that only 14% of the online VR hardware buyers were women. Of course, this is a study from 4 years ago and it is very likely that this number has changed!

Women make up 44.6% of online shoppers for console, mobile and PC games. It looks like they are pretty much established in the gaming world — but maybe they just aren’t that interested in VR… yet. My guess is that after VR usage rises even more, women will be able to find creative ways to utilize that power — and rule the world.

2. 51% of Generation X and 45% of Baby Boomers want more travel-based VRs

(Source: Global Web Index)

Older generations aren’t that interested in the gaming implications of VR they want to travel instead! The virtual reality industry is very versatile and provides a playground where anyone’s aspirations can be fulfilled. Want to visit Cuba or go snorkeling in Australia from your living room? This doesn’t sound so crazy anymore.

VR has interesting implications for travel marketing as well. It can allow travelers to sample an experience (like flying a helicopter or getting a virtual tour of the Egyptian pyramids) before actually committing to it. This once again proves the point that virtual reality software offers endless possibilities in exploring the world around us — not just through games.

3. User experience is the main obstacle to wider VR adoption

(Source: Statista)

According to 27% of surveyed respondents, user experience is the only thing preventing a global VR boom. Issues like technical bugs, glitches and uncomfortable headsets frustrate people and prevent them from enjoying the technology to the fullest.

However, comparing current data to virtual reality user statistics 2018, when this number was 41%, there is an obvious positive trend of these VR statistics. Other points of improvement that users pointed out were the customer and business hesitation (20%) and the poor content quality (19%).

4. More than 60% of parents think that VR can be educational for their children

(Source: Common Sense Media)

60% of parents worry that the high virtual reality demand among children will cause them health and safety issues. However, 62% of parents think that VR can actually have a positive influence on children’s education. Even if currently only 22% of children with access to VR gear use it in this way (compared to 78% who use it for gaming), the virtual reality market forecast is that more and more educational games will be made in the future — so parents, keep calm and trust in VR.

Augmented Reality Statistics 2019

Augmented Reality Statistics

Ok, enough about VR — let’s take a peek into AR territory. What is AR you might ask? Well, it’s VR’s less sophisticated cousin.

Augmented reality technology adds digital elements to reality, by using a camera viewfinder or a smartphone display. Now that we are on the same page, get ready for a few awesome augmented reality stats.

1. Pokémon GO has been downloaded 1 billion + times

(Source: BBC)

Remember Pokémon Go? That funky game that all the kids went crazy over back in 2016? Besides its pop culture significance, the game also set certain standards for future augmented reality trends. It was downloaded 500 million (!!!) times for the first two months after its release and managed to surpass 1 billion downloads in 2019.

The game still has a big player base, with around 148 million active loyal users. Around 85,000 people attended the latest Pokémon Fest held in Dortmund, Germany — which is a big deal for augmented reality 2020. Many other games have come out since Pokémon’s release but no other has quite managed to capture our hearts like it.

2. AR gaming market is predicted to gain $284.9 billion by 2023

(Source: Orbis Research)

Speaking of Pokémon Go, you should know that the game contributed around $1.2 billion to AR growth. Considering this, it’s no surprise that experts predict a potential AR market revenue of $284.9 billion by 2023. What’s more, the overall AR gaming industry marks a compound annual growth rate of 152.7% for the period between 2017 and 2023.

If this confuses you, let me make it simpler for you — these numbers are huge! They also further cement the statement that AR is going places…

3. 88% of mid-sized companies are already using AR in some capacity

(Source: Deloitte)

Not just applicable to gaming, AR has proven itself to be a champion in other fields as well. One of these fields is the corporate sector — AR looks very promising in terms of marketing and customer service. In fact, many mid-market companies (annual revenue between $100 million and $1 billion) are experimenting with AR to help their business.

This experimentation can be seen in statistics for AR worldwide. Mobile AR ad revenue (think Snapchat and Facebook) is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2022. A true game changer!

In Conclusion

So, where do you see virtual reality in 10 years? What technical advances will the industry make? Will it be better user experience and produce more travel content? What kind of innovative VR and AR games will come to the market next? I don’t have the answers to these questions, I can only speculate but one thing’s for sure — the VR industry will continue to grow.

Virtual Reality Predictions

But still, how is VR going to evolve in the coming years? Well, predictions are that virtual reality growth will depend on the quality of stories told to its audience. It is also very likely that VR will further penetrate the health, business and education market. Rehabilitation is one interesting field to look at in terms of medicine and the technology can also cultivate stronger empathy in terms of journalism and communication.

Because of the superior quality of virtual reality graphics, people can experience thrilling documentaries in a whole different light.

Virtual reality user statistics
Virtual reality user statistics

FAQ

Q: What percentage of people have VR?

A: This is a difficult question to answer, but according to a virtual reality industry report, there have been 14 million devices sold in 2019. This is one of the important virtual reality facts of 2019, as it marks a huge leap in VR history, since just in 2015 there were as few as 2.9 million devices sold. In 2016 they were 7 million, virtual reality statistics of 2017 say the number was 10 million. 2018 had a small hiccup; sales dropped to 8 million, but have since rebounded. Combined, this makes 41.9 million sold devices, with 37 million more sales expected by the end of 2020. However, it is hard to tell how many of these VR peripherals are used by corporations, arcades and private users.

Q: Is virtual reality becoming more popular?

A: VR is growing — and that’s a fact. More and more people are aware of what the term VR means, which can only mean good things for any virtual reality future developments. Along with arcades and cinemas, VR is entering classrooms, hospitals and corporate conference rooms — it makes concepts so much easier to get across. Brace yourselves, as estimations are that within the next 5 years, VR will rule over us — not that it hasn’t taken us out by a storm already.

Q: How many VR users are there in the world?

A: VR products today are enjoyed by 171 million people on a global scale. Be it for gaming, business, education or the healthcare market, everyone can find some useful application for it. The technology is still enjoyed primarily by men, compared to women, according to current VR statistics, but there is a positive trend on the horizon. Usage among the older generation is also considerable — although Generation X and Baby Boomers prefer to use VR for travelling, rather than playing games.

Q: Is virtual reality growing?

A: Yes, it is! Just in the last 5 years (from 2015 to 2020), VR growth has seen a rapid increase. With 171 million people using VR devices, to the expected $209.2 billion worth of the VR and AR market in 2022, the technology has definitely skyrocketed. With many businesses picking up VR to boost their performance, the world is slowly embracing this piece of near science fiction equipment. Just think of all the fascinating virtual reality statistics that you read just now — can there really be any doubt left that VR is here to stay?

Sources:

Statista
GlobalMe
Greenlight Insights
3D Insider
CSS Insight
Market Watch
Statista
Forbes
Indeed
Viar 360
Statista
The Brief Blog
Global Web Index
Statista
Common Sense Media
Orbis Research
BBC
Deloitte

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