VR Consumers Need Convincing With Demos

Virtual Reality products may once have been touted as the hot holiday gift for gamers, but reports are showing sales of the products to be lagging behind initial estimates, and the problem may be getting them into the hands (and onto the heads) of consumers. 

According to a market snapshot from Parks Associates, half of consumers who try VR headsets enjoy the experience and say they expect to buy one. The demonstrations are powerful enough that 15% of those who try them make immediate plans to buy one, says Brett Sappington, senior director of research at Parks Associates. 

“It’s getting great appeal, but there has to be something that moves it from the 50% to the 15%,” Sappington tells Marketing Daily. “There needs to be some sort of compelling content or experience that has people go out and buy it. Right now, there are a number of interesting things, but nothing overwhelmingly compelling.”



The snapshot demonstrates that electronics marketers need to heavily expand into creating personal demos and experiences in retail settings. Despite being one of the “buzz” categories for electronics this holiday season, more than 60% of U.S. broadband households admit they know little to nothing about virtual reality, according to the company. 

Currently, only 3.5% of U.S. broadband households (about 3.4 million households) own a virtual reality headset, and reports suggest that holiday sales are falling well below earlier estimates. The top uses for those headsets are gaming, healthcare and viewing live events (like concerts and sports). Despite those interest areas, there is yet to be a defining experience that compels consumers to feel like they “need” a VR device, Sappington says. 

“The people in the content industry need to figure out the best ways to tell stories,” he says.

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