Ownership levels of VR headsets are higher than those of wearables and tablets at the same stage of their lifecycle, according to research by YouGov.
The new report, called VR: A Deeper Perspective, found that 6% of the UK population currently own a headset. At the equivalent point after commercial release, only 4% owned wearables and 3% had bought a tablet.
The data suggests that VR hardware is seeing a rapid expansion in the last year. In Q4 2016, headset penetration was 3%, meaning it had roughly doubled by Q1 2017.
the market is moving past a reliance on ‘first adopters’
The market is currently characterised as being dominated by males (56% of owners) and those aged 18-34 (47% of owners).
Crucially, the market is moving past a reliance on ‘first adopters’. 22% of owners are second wave purchasers and 29% are ‘mainstream’ purchasers – or those that only purchase tech when they really like it.
“The implications of and applications for VR going mass market are huge. While there are obvious opportunities for games manufacturers, the real advance will come for marketers,” Justin Marshall, associate director of digital media and technology at YouGov, said.
“For example, with mass adoption it is worth companies and brands investing in VR-related content, from travel companies giving people a high definition tour of a hotel or destination to sports broadcasters bringing viewers right to the heart of the action for example ITV recently partnering to broadcast the Grand National in VR, and BT who will be broadcasting the Champions League final in the same way.”
A ‘polarised market’
YouGov’s also shows that the bulk of the upsurge in VR sales is being driven by low-end headsets. These lower cost options are helping todrive adoption at a much faster rate.
bulk of the upsurge in VR sales is being driven by low-end headsets
79% of headset owners have one that works with their phone, with the most common being Samsung Gear (22%) and Google Cardboard (21%).
“The VR headset market is polarised between low end and high end devices. The more affordable devices such as Google Cardboard and bundling of the Samsung Gear with a Samsung smartphone are initially helping to drive the rapid growth in this market,” Marshall continued.
“However, owners who become familiar with the technology and become converted to the benefits of it may well then start to buy much more sophisticated and expensive headsets. Should this happen, the price of higher end devices should continue to fall, which would in turn further expand the market.”