New research from emerging business and technology consulting firm Interactive Broadband Consulting Group (IBB) analyzes the consumer virtual reality (VR) market opportunity beyond gaming. The firm conducted a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. online consumers that expressed an interest in VR. The research was conducted to further understand preferences around VR head-mounted displays (HMD), content, distribution and willingness to spend on devices.
“VR is on the radar of almost every mobile, cable and media client we work with and the most frequent question we get is whether this makes sense for their business right now,” said Jefferson Wang, senior partner at IBB, in a news release.
Key insights included:
- A majority (54%) of consumers that are interested in VR think it is here to stay, not a fad.
- Less than one third (31%) of people interested in VR have actually tried it.
- More than three quarters (77%) say they are willing to spend on VR gear, with 18% saying they’d pay more than $250.
- Overall, men expressed nearly 2x more interest in VR than females—however, this interest balanced out among middle-aged respondents (35-54).
- “Movies and TV” had about 50% interest in almost all age groups—no other content category attracted a higher level of widespread appeal.
- Men are more interested in movies and TV, live events, gaming and user-generated VR content, but women are 35% more interested than men in travel-themed VR experiences.
- 42% would watch virtual reality ads in exchange for free content and 38% would watch ads as long as they are “cool and relevant.” About one third (34%) would not watch ads.
- The content distribution market is up for grabs with respondents planning to access across internet video providers (55%), gaming platforms (41%), wireless providers (29%), app stores (28%), cable or satellite providers (26%) and social networks (17%).
The full Consumer Virtual Reality Views report leverages IBB’s consumer product launch experience, convergence expertise, consumer VR research and industry predictions to offer a current perspective on market opportunities and launch strategies. Also included is a demographic breakdown of consumers interested in VR, a review of device limitations impacting potential content rollouts, a review of viable business models and perspective on virtual reality’s long-term future.
IBB sees an immediate opportunity to reduce the friction points involved with experiencing VR to convert those in the “not interested” camp. The firm advocates that ecosystem players able to leverage a retail presence will have an advantage as they can simplify getting consumers started via in-store demos, existing billing relationships, physical and online distribution, sales staff and post-sale support.
“Initially, IBB predicts that the VR market winners will be companies that can break down the barriers to entry with an end-to-end play,” said Wang, who leads IBB’s innovation and end-to-end product development for virtual reality and augmented reality offerings, including active work with tier-one operators, global device makers, content providers and the startup community on VR / AR rollouts that will condition the market, drive adoption and transition computing power from being held in the palm to worn on the body.
To gain insight into the consumer VR market, IBB initially surveyed 8,471 U.S. consumers during the week of April 25, 2016. Of this group, 1,025 consumers expressed an interest in virtual reality and completed the full survey, which was conducted online.
Source: Marketwired; edited by Richard Carufel