Interest in virtual reality technology is virtually non-existent among the vast majority of Americans, according to new consumer research released today by Horizon Media.
The study, which surveyed 3,000 people online, found that two-thirds of Americans are either unaware of or don’t care about having VR technology.
“Despite extensive media coverage of Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard and other virtual reality devices, fully two thirds of consumers are unaware of the technology,” Horizon notes in the report, adding that while VR has attained critical mass attention on Madison Avenue’s “shiny, new, technology” community, it still has a long way to go for mass consumer adoption.
“Consumers are open to a VR enhanced future, but believe it will take several more years to get there,” the report notes, adding, however, that among those who are aware of an interest in obtaining VR technology, they were twice as excited about it as they were about owning an Apple Watch.
According to Horizon, initial costs of VR technology are one of the factors putting consumers off. The survey found that only one-quarter (25%) of consumers are willing to spend more than $250 on a virtual reality device. Currently, Oculus Rift is priced at $599, while Samsung offers its Gear VR for $99 and Google Cardboard viewers are around $20.
"Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard are low-cost alternatives that lower the barrier to entry," Horizon Vice President-Trendsights Kirk Olson stated. "That benefits marketers because the sooner we see more consumers using VR devices, the sooner we'll understand what they're truly good for. Not just what they can do, but what they can do that consumers care about. The 'caring' part is the key to creating meaningful and effective consumer connections."
The study found that younger men are the most eager VR consumers: they have greater interest in owning a VR device (47% of men vs. 25% of women; 54% of 18- to-34-year-olds vs. 44% of 35-49, 25% of 50-64), are twice as likely to say they would pay $250+ (31% of men vs. 16% of women; 30% of under 50s vs. 15% of 50-64), and men are 3x as likely to have already tried VR technology (16% of men vs. 6% of women).More than half (55% ) of respondents who say they don't want to own a VR device say it is because they "don't find it that interesting or exciting," and 34% say "If I want to have experiences, I can just go do them in real life."