A new survey from Piper Sandler, released on Tuesday, has revealed that American teens are not showing much interest in virtual reality. The investment firm found that out of the teens polled, only 4% of VR headset owners used their device daily, and 14% used it weekly, despite 29% of teens owning a VR device. This indicates a lack of enthusiasm for the technology, especially compared to the 87% of teens who own iPhones.
Furthermore, the survey showed that teenagers are not particularly keen on purchasing forthcoming VR headsets, with only 7% saying they planned to buy one. In contrast, 52% of teens polled were unsure or uninterested in buying a headset. These results suggest that virtual reality hardware and software have yet to gain significant popularity with the public, despite billions of dollars of investment from Big Tech companies and the availability of several low-cost headsets on the market.
According to Piper Sandler analysts, the tepid usage of VR by American teens indicates that VR remains in its “early days” and that these devices are not as essential as smartphones. Given that teenagers are often seen as early adopters of new technology, their preferences could show where the industry is heading.
“To us, the lukewarm usage demonstrates that VR remains ‘early days’ and that these devices are less important than smartphones,” Piper Sandler analysts wrote.
The survey also highlights the challenge VR faces as Apple reportedly prepares to announce its headset as soon as this year. The survey suggests that Apple may face an uphill battle in convincing potential customers to adopt its technology. Facebook parent Meta is also expected to release new virtual reality headsets later this year. Although its Quest 2 headset was the market leader in terms of sales in 2020, shipments reportedly declined last year, according to analysts.
Piper Sandler’s teen study surveyed over 5,600 teens in the US in February.
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