Why VR Is Too Big to Ignore

To say that the Virtual Reality (VR) industry is rapidly growing would be an understatement. By 2025, the global VR market is expected to reach $48.5 billion. Active user numbers are on the rise, VR headset sales are skyrocketing, and big tech players like Apple are hinting at releasing their own hardware to access VR content. The future of VR is certainly bright.

These VR trends aren’t just relevant to the entertainment industry either. We’ve seen a rise in education programs and healthcare applications as well. These uses could have an enormous impact on the future of VR. Companies are just beginning to harness the immersive power of VR, but increased access and affordability will likely jumpstart this trend within the next two years. Here are some recent VR trends that make it clear it’s here to stay.

VR is more accessible than ever – as seen by the rise of active VR users

Access to VR tech has been one of the most significant barriers to its mainstream use. Companies adopting video marketing may not see VR as worth pursuing. After all, what’s the point of investing in digital content that most people can’t even see? However, as lower-cost hardware options are coming to market, access is becoming less of an issue.

To see this positive shift in VR access, we can look at the rising number of active users and hardware. In 2017, there were about 90 million active VR users. The projected number from 2018 was 171 million, almost doubling the previous years’ users. With so many active users going forward, the future of VR is a little more certain.

More affordable and user-friendly VR devices increase adoption

With more active users each year, it makes sense that VR hardware sales are on the rise. In 2020, global consumer reporter Statistica predicts that the number of VR headsets sold will reach 82 million. That’s a 1,507% increase from the predicted totals of 2017. But people aren’t buying more VR gear just because it’s popular. Companies like HTC, Oculus, and Sony are helping spur consumer momentum by cutting prices on their VR headsets.

Cheaper headsets increase adoption rate, while mobile VR offers a low-risk (and more affordable) entry point for users. For example, Gear VR, Google Cardboard, and Daydream view are all options that don’t require a significant investment. Along with these “big name” hardware producers, we’re seeing more companies produce standalone mobile VR devices.

VR isn’t just for gaming or entertainment

Though gaming may be the most visible industry in VR news, many VR users are consuming other emerging forms of content. For example, new VR content in different verticals let consumers access 360 videos, movies, and virtual shopping experiences.

Beyond entertainment, VR is also being used for education programs in elementary and high school classes, and for medical training simulations. The unique immersive quality of VR lends itself well to educating since users are more likely to recall the experience and relate to it emotionally.

VR is going to play a critical role in marketing to Gen Z and Millennials

Younger generations, who will soon have the most purchasing power, are overwhelmingly interested in VR. Data from separate 2015 consumer reports show that 79% of Gen Z users and 73% of millennials in the US expressed interest in VR. Since VR users experience a virtual world without distractions, this interest could translate to fantastic success for VR marketing strategies.

The future of VR and VR users: Image of a man wearing a black VR headset

When you combine this data with the spending power of these generations, the future of VR is clear. After all, by 2020 Gen Z will represent 40% of US consumer spending.

By then, they will offer an estimated $350 billion in buying power. As VR tech becomes more affordable, Gen Z’ers may influence an entirely new trend of content marketing.

Consumer access is growing but many businesses aren’t diving in yet. That makes this the perfect time to deliver a cutting-edge VR experience your audience will remember for a long time.