Thursday, December 08, 2016

Pre-purchase experience key to adoption of virtual reality headsets

New industry snapshot shows 15% of consumers who try a VR headset buy one

A new market snapshot by Parks Associates reveals 50% of consumers who try a VR (virtual reality) headset enjoy it and make plans to purchase one, while 15% who try one enjoy the experience and then buy a headset.This research, from Consumer Strategies and Use Cases for Virtual and Augmented Reality, highlights the importance of personal experience in driving the success of virtual reality headset sales and the need to expand demos beyond industry events such as CES® and into retail settings, especially during the holiday shopping season. At last year’s CES®, VR headsets and hardware drew attention, but this year, content and apps will be the focus for the technology.

“VR and AR (augmented reality) technologies have great potential but are in the very earliest stages of their market lifecycle. VR headsets have only recently entered the consumer market, and 360-degree and VR content production is just beginning. Content creators are still in the process of finding the best ways to use VR to tell stories and generate revenues. Currently, more than 60% of U.S. broadband households claim to know little or nothing about virtual reality,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research, ParksAssociates.“Despite a boost in awareness in 2016, AR consumer applications remain more of an opportunity than commercial reality. Industry players must create the appropriate ecosystems for each, including platforms, software, content, distribution, and delivery systems, in order for them to be viable in the marketplace.”

Parks Associates notes 3.5% of U.S. broadband households, or roughly 3.4 million households, own a virtual reality headset. The top use cases for VR include gaming, healthcare, live events such as concerts or sporting events, social interaction, marketing, and education.

“Gaming is a strong use case for VR and AR technologies,” said Hunter Sappington, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. “PlayStation VR, launched by Sony in October, was a high-profile entry for VR, while the app Pokémon Go exposed lots of smartphone users, and news organizations, to AR. However, to find success beyond the Pokémon Go phenomenon, the industry needs to forge more content partnerships.”

Consumer Strategies and Use Cases for Virtual and Augmented Reality focuses on current consumer engagement trends and strategies to boost adoption beyond the early-adopter phase. Topics for the snapshot include:

  • Consumer familiarity and comfort with VR and AR technologies
  • Key strategies to increase adoption
  • VR and AR innovations that could erase the distinction between device and content
  • Market opportunities for AR apps and live VR content
  • Use cases for gaming, digital media, health, life events, social interaction, marketing, and education

To download Consumer Strategies and Use Cases for Virtual and Augmented Reality, visit To schedule an interview with an analyst or to request specific data, contact Holly Sprague at, 720.987.6614.

Parks Associates will discuss VR and AR technologies and other IoT and smart home innovations during CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES, January 5 in Las Vegas. Visit for more information. During CES® 2017, visit Parks Associates at Booth #41073 in Sands A-D.

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates, a woman-founded and certified business, is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates provides business intelligence and research services through its proprietary methodologies developed over decades, including quarterly surveys of 10,000 internet households.

The company's expertise crosses many industries: home security and smart home, streaming video, broadband and pay-TV services, digital media and platforms, gaming, Wi-Fi and home networks, connected health, support, consumer electronics, home control systems, energy management, and tech solutions for the multi-dwelling (MDU), small-to-medium business (SMB), and commercial building markets.

Each year, Parks Associates brings thousands of leaders together for its webinars and annual events. The firm hosts the annual executive research and strategy conferences CONNECTIONS™, Connected Health Summit, Smart Energy Summit, Smart Spaces, and Future of Video.

Next: Adoption of voice assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home more than doubles from 2015 to 2016
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