Virtual Reality by the Numbers: 5 Things You Need to Know in 2017

Who are the big players? Where are the opportunities? How does the general public feel? We look at the major trends in VR to be aware of in the coming year.

Virtual Reality (VR) has finally arrived. Questions of affordabilty aside, 2016 was the year that VR products finally hit store shelves in a major way. But now that the products are out there, the big test is whether consumers will actually use them. And if they do what will they use them for? So will VR hardware become as popular as smartphones? Or will this be a trend we see fizzling out sooner than later? We took at look at some of the numbers and came up with five things everyone should know about VR in 2017:

According to ReportLinker the majority of Americans are not aware of the major VR brands (Image source: ReportLinker) 

1.) Most Americans Don't Understand VR

There may be a section devoted to VR gear at your local Best Buy already but that doesn't mean consumers understand why it's there. A 2016 survey by ReportLinker found that “the majority of respondents do not understand the concept of virtual reality and fully half cannot name a single brand behind the VR technology.” According to the survey 58% of Americans have heard about VR, but aren't able to “explain what it's all about.” Not surprisingly, millennials exhibited the greatest familiarity with VR. What this represents however is a disconnect between the dollars going into developing and marketing VR technology and actual consumer understanding of what the big deal is. 

2.) No One Agrees How Much the VR Market Will be Worth

Depending on whom you ask, analysts are estimating the VR market to grow into the tens of billions in the next 3 years. Estimates are placing the VR market at anywhere from $10 billion to as high as $70 billion by the 2020s. Factor in augmented reality (AR) products as well and market estimates balloon into the hundreds of billions . A 2016 report by MarketsandMarkets estimated the market will be worth $33.9 billion by 2022, coinciding with estimates from other analyst groups such as Digi-Capital. Meanwhile, a 2015 report released by TrendForce estimated the VR hardware and software market would reach $6.7 billion in 2016 and hit $70 billion by 2017. Most analysts agree that hardware will be the major driver in the VR segment, generating upwards of 61% of revenue in the coming years (according to Greenlight Insights ). However in its report, TrendForce noted that app development, particularly from independent developers could also be a major driver of market growth.

Projections estimate the VR market will be worth anywhere from $30-70 billion by 2020. (Image source: Greenlight Insights)


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3.) VR Hardware Comes in 3 Categories

With so many different product offering hitting the market it can be

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