Is it the next frontier of immersive tech, or just a gimmick? There are many opinions on virtual reality, but the fact is that it’s here to stay and better than ever. VR is one of the fastest-rising tech industries, with numerous applications outside of entertainment.
To fully understand VR’s popularity, we’ve gathered and analyzed the latest virtual reality statistics. From market size and headset units sold, to commercial use and gaming, here’s what we found out about this exciting technology:
Virtual Reality Market Statistics
The virtual reality market was valued at $15.81 billion in 2020.
(Grand View Research)
According to market reports gathered after the end of the fiscal year 2020, the VR market is on the road to becoming one of the most lucrative tech branches. It’s expected to grow at an 18% CAGR during the next seven years. Analysts predict the value of this market will reach $50.3 billion by 2028.
The VR market’s annual revenue is predicted to reach $4.8 billion by the end of 2021.
Compared to 2020, the market for virtual reality devices and apps grew by nearly a full $1 billion in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help improve the VR sales numbers, but with the release of Oculus Quest 2 and some killer apps along the way, the VR market has once again found its footing.
By 2024, the VR market’s annual revenue will triple.
Analysts firmly believe that the market will continue growing at a quickening rate. Looking at the projections for the market’s growth, in 2024, this tech sector should rake in over $12 billion in revenue (consumer and enterprise combined).
The VR gaming industry earned $1.1 billion in 2020.
Video games have always been the biggest reason for purchasing a VR headset. Although its entry point is still significantly more expensive than consoles for the average consumer, VR statistics confirm that the VR gaming industry is steadily growing. Analysts predict this industry will be earning $2.4 billion a year by 2024.
VR is expected to become mainstream in the next 3-4 years.
Virtual reality technology isn’t perfect. It’s also bizarre, especially to people not used to the accompanying feeling of immersion. But, thanks to many VR companies working on bringing it closer to people, it may very well become the next smartphone in terms of adoption rate. More than 80% of manufacturers believe it’s just a matter of time before VR becomes mainstream.
Consumer spending on VR and AR, according to VR market statistics, is expected to reach $72 billion by 2024.
Both virtual and augmented reality products are steadily finding their audience. At this point, AR is more attractive to companies from the financial side of things, as it’s easier and cheaper to develop AR than VR apps. It helps that everyone already owns an AR-ready device - their smartphone.
Manufacturers shipped 5.5 million AR and VR headsets in 2020.
Despite the global pandemic, chip shortage, and shipping crisis, manufacturers still delivered their devices to retailers and, ultimately, consumers. Based on the current VR sale statistics, data analysts predict that AR and VR headset manufacturers will ship 26 million per year by 2023. It’s a bright future for this technology.
11 million VR units will be sold by the end of 2021.
As the prices of VR systems drop and more people become interested in this new technology, so its sales numbers go up. More than 11 million VR units are projected to be sold by the end of 2021, and that number will double within the next two years.
Facebook sold 2 million units of Oculus Quest 2 in Q1 2021.
Continuing with the VR headset sales statistics, analysts estimate there are more than 5 million Oculus Quest 2 headsets in the wild. According to Facebook’s Q1 investor call, sales of the headset generated $732 million for the company. Considering Quests are typically sold for $299 to $399, that turns into 2 million units in a single quarter alone.
Sony has sold more than 5 million PlayStation VR units.
(Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Sony’s VR headset might not be selling as hotcakes compared to consoles, but it’s still one of the hottest pieces of tech you can own. In 2019, the sales of the PlayStation VR headset hit 5 million units, making it one of the most popular choices for VR gaming, although Sony has yet to update its virtual reality sales statistics. With a recent announcement of PSVR 2, the number of PlayStation gamers that own a VR setup is sure to increase.
The VR software market will be worth $6.4 billion in 2022.
More VR users mean more apps and games sold, too. By current data, the VR software market is en route to reach $5 billion by the end of 2021. But, in 2022, its value is set to increase by a quarter.
Product placement and advertising is a monetization method for 47% of VR developers.
When it comes to monetizing VR content, VR stats show that 61% of companies go the standard route of directly selling a product or a subscription. That includes devices and VR content like games, apps, and subscriptions. VR arcades account for 28% of commercial VR usage, while 36% of surveyed VR companies offer paid virtual events like concerts. The latter has been on a considerable upswing in the past two years, along with the rise of VR experiences and apps that allow for “virtual tourism” and event organization within virtual reality.
Virtual Reality Usage Statistics
78% of Americans know about VR.
So, how many people even know what VR is and what it can do? In a survey conducted by Greenlight Insights, the majority of respondents said they’re familiar with VR. The popularity of this technology is definitely on the upswing as, just a few years earlier, only 45% of people said they possessed any familiarity with the tech.
One in five US adults has tried VR so far.
The latest statistics on virtual reality adoption confirm that many people still haven’t had the chance to try VR. While the technology is there and widely available, for an average consumer, it’s still a bit too pricey and weird. Even so, millions of Americans have already tried virtual reality, either in the comfort of their homes, at parties, or VR arcades.
On a global scale, 171 million people use VR in some manner.
While we’re still far from seeing a virtual reality headset become as common in people’s homes as a laptop or a TV set, the number of VR users is growing every year. Virtual reality statistics, calculated from the number of units shipped, reveal that the number of people interacting with VR is nearing 200 million.
Less than 30% of gamers own a VR system.
Gamers aren’t as fast at adopting VR tech as many believe. This is due to several reasons, but the price is the most common one. Good VR setups are expensive, since they require a powerful PC along with a headset and controllers - a luxury that many can’t afford, especially due to current GPU shortages.
For 64% of VR users, gaming is where this technology shines.
VR statistics reveal how a typical VR user perceives this technology. Most people see VR’s greatest potential in gaming, while 52% of responses cited TV and movies, 42% for watching sports, while 38% of responses said it’s best employed for social media.
Only 28% of people who own a VR setup use it daily.
Not everyone finds VR ideal for day-to-day use. That’s why the biggest share of respondents (39%) said they use their VR headsets on a weekly basis, while 19% of users turn on their sets once per month. Only 6% of people use their VR just once a year, according to VR usage statistics.
70% of VR users plan to increase their VR usage in the upcoming year.
Despite low numbers for daily usage, it’s evident that VR is finally clicking with more people. For example, only 7% of the survey’s participants said they plan on reducing their VR usage. Seems like most people just need to get their “VR legs” and get used to screens being so close and personal so they can truly enjoy VR.
VR is most popular among people aged 25 to 34.
VR user statistics reveal that just over a quarter (27%) of people aged 25 to 35 (i.e., young Millenials) are planning on buying a VR headset. The next most interested group are Gen Z-ers, of whom nearly a fifth would buy this technology.
22% of VR users want more immersive and interactive content.
Right now, VR is the peak of interactivity. Nonetheless, a lot of people believe that’s precisely the aspect that needs improvement. With full locomotion and haptic controllers, users are compelled to explore more and, thus, expect to have more stuff to do in VR. It’s just one of many VR facts - more interactivity leads to better immersion.
44% of users expect VR to find its usage in urban planning and traffic flow management.
Virtual reality has many potential use cases. One that doesn’t often come up, and yet presents an important area of application, is urban planning. Paired with that, managing traffic is another often overlooked field of potential use.
Virtual Reality Gaming Statistics
Only 1.8% of Steam users own a VR headset.
Virtual reality still has a long way to go until it becomes the norm in the PC gaming world. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t many VR enthusiasts already: Steam has more than 120 million users now, meaning that that seemingly measly 1.8 % actually converts into 2.16 million gamers with VR headsets.
Oculus Quest 2 is the most popular Steam VR headset, accounting for 33% of the market share.
The low entry cost and exceptional build quality helped push Oculus Quest 2 through the door. This standalone VR HMD dominates Steam’s VR gaming statistics, overtaking the Valve Index headset (owned by 17% of SteamVR users). The survey shows a drop in HTC VIVE’s share in the SteamVR ecosystem below Oculus Rift S.
Beat Saber is the highest-grossing VR game, with $69.7 million in lifetime total earnings.
Most people’s very first VR game was the Star Wars-inspired rhythm game Beat Saber. Simplistic in nature, it proved to be a great way to exercise, attracting millions of players of all ages. Aside from the $29.99 base game, developer Beat Games also sells additional songs for $1.99 a pop, but they weren’t used to calculate this VR statistic. That means Beat Saber’s revenue is actually much higher.
Half-Life: Alyx generated $64.6 million in revenue during its first six months.
Valve’s latest entry in the beloved Half-Life series is also one of the fastest-selling VR games of all time. This is impressive, considering it’s close to beating Beat Saber’s earnings despite the rhythm game being available for longer and on more platforms than HL: Alyx. The game also gave a significant boost to Valve Index sales.
Phasmophobia is the top-selling VR game on Steam.
Considering VR adoption rate spiked thanks to it, you might have expected that Half-Life: Alyx is Steam’s bestseller in the VR category. That was certainly the case for its first six months out, but then Phasmophobia was released in September 2020 and has outsold it since. Alyx is followed by another smash hit, Beat Saber, and then Pavlov VR - a multiplayer shooter.
Steam’s VR best sellers:
- Half-Life: Alyx
- Beat Saber
- Pavlov VR
- Blade and Sorcery
- Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Tabletop Simulator
- Assetto Corsa
Kat Walk C is the highest-earning VR accessory on Kickstarter with $1.7 million in funding.
While Oculus Rift is still dominating Kickstarter’s virtual reality stats, in the accessory department, it’s evident that people want to feel movement in VR. KTVR’s omnidirectional VR treadmill was a smash hit on the crowdfunding platform, backed by 1,397 people. This device was selling for $999+ and allowed gamers to experience the thrill of VR arcades in the comfort of their own home.
Twitch viewers watched 17.3 million hours of VR gaming content in 2020.
Content creators have found a lot of success streaming popular VR games on Twitch. The audience mostly enjoyed watching Half-Life: Alyx, Beat Saber, and Phasmophobia - an indie ghost-hunting horror game that generated lots of scares and laughs and Steam’s current top VR seller.
Commercial Virtual Reality Statistics
Commercial application accounts for 53% of all VR technology usage.
(Grand View Research)
Contrary to popular belief, gaming isn’t why so many virtual reality headsets are sold out as soon as they leave the factory floors. The commercial sector has seen the biggest usage of VR tech, either in retail, showrooms, or real estate. Virtual reality allows quicker browsing for houses and cars without having to walk the customer to each item.
Training simulations are expected to become the most common application of VR in healthcare.
Virtual reality can have many different uses and, according to VR application statistics, it could prove to be a lifesaver - pun intended - for healthcare professionals. Teaching surgeons, studying diseases, even helping with mental health are just some of the possibilities. Experts believe VR and AR will most likely become the norm for training young doctors and surgeons within the next two years, followed by assisting surgeons when performing complicated operations.
There are more than 950 VR startups in the United States.
A lot of people are working on developing new VR apps, games, and experiences. In the US alone, hundreds of companies are exploring the possibilities of this technology, finding new ways to apply it in science and entertainment.
VR industry statistics reveal that 85% of VR companies in the US already have active projects, or will launch one soon.
All that startup potential is already showing and, within the next two years, things will get even more interesting. Developers currently working on virtual reality projects are already testing their products in the field for things like in-flight entertainment, virtual shopping, healthcare programs, and more.
Thanks to the VR industry, 23.3 million jobs will be created by the end of this decade.
The increased popularity of commercial and consumer VR is great for pretty much everyone. PwC’s virtual reality industry statistics support an exciting prediction - not only will more people find work, but it’s estimated that the growth of this industry will boost the global economy by $1.5 trillion by 2030.
The United States GDP is set to increase by $537 billion by 2030 from VR and AR jobs.
In the United States alone, the growth of AR/VR tech will create 2.3 million jobs. China will have an even larger job market, with 6.8 million job openings leading to a $183.3 billion increase in GDP by the end of this decade.
Adopting VR in the workplace could lead to a 43% decrease in workplace injuries.
(Chaos Theory Games)
An important virtual reality statistic is the one showcasing how VR could lead to a safer workplace for many. Remote control through VR could not only decrease the risk of injury, but also improve productivity in many industries.
VR training has improved employee success rate by 70%.
(Chaos Theory Games)
A recent experiment conducted by Walmart had employees train via VR. The results were positive - a 30% increase in employee satisfaction, up to a 15% higher retention rate, and, as mentioned, better results on post-training tests. A virtual reality device could soon become a part of onboarding procedures in many companies across the world.
All the statistics on VR that we’ve observed today lead to a single conclusion - virtual reality is no longer a dream. It has come down from sci-fi movies and tech expos to everyday life. Slowly but steadily, it’s becoming the future of entertainment, and a helping hand at work. There are exciting things to come.
Yes. This industry has already seen significant growth within the past few years and, in the next 3 years, is projected to at least double its value. The tech is becoming more affordable, apps and games more immersive, and more people are interested in it, according to statistics on VR users. Moreso, many believe VR is the future of gaming, science, and education.
Yes, but it has some more growing up to do. Only recently have we begun seeing hardware that’s both high-end and reasonably priced. This is a key factor in the VR adoption rate - if the technology is to become truly profitable, more people need access to it.
Approximately one in three gamers own or use a piece of VR hardware. That can be either affordable headsets one plugs into their smartphone, or state-of-the-art tech, like Valve Index or Pimax 8K.
Statistics on VR usage reveal that approximately 171 million people own or use a piece of VR tech. This number is growing by the day, as many people get a chance to try VR at their friend’s house, at malls, stores, arcades, etc.
Virtual reality is the pinnacle of immersive experiences right now. Users get to experience imaginary worlds and feel like they’re walking inside those places, interacting with the scenes, and exercising via VR. Not only that, but virtual reality statistics also show that VR is increasingly useful in commercial use and remote work. In short, it’s a versatile, immersive innovation.
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