“SuperData Research profile of VR consumer marketplace says women already represent 41% of mobile VR users”
Although millennial males represent a majority of the VR industry, accounting for 37% of the addressable market, females and older adults will begin to own a larger market share as entertainment media and interactive content become more prevalent in the industry.
The findings are from “The Virtual Consumer,” a state of the consumer VR industry analysis that provides detailed data on consumers, their sentiments, and behaviors across the US VR marketplace and the first report from the SuperData VR Network, a collection of top VR developers and headset makers that collaborate on insights projects to verify the scope and trajectory of the market.
According to SuperData, the current VR market is made up of a niche audience of early tech adopters, which tends to skew more male than female. Millennial men make up 37% of the VR market as a whole, and a majority of the non-mobile VR audience. This group represents 76% of the PC market and 73% of the console market, with modern VR still heavily geared toward hardcore gamers.
The steep upfront price of console and PC VR devices means current owners have higher average incomes of $82K on PC and $80K on console and are more willing to spend on a device and content. The average millennial male will spend $43 a month on VR content, more than double the next audience category, males aged 35 and older, who spend $28 a month.
However, the VR industry is not entirely male-dominated. SuperData found that the mobile VR market is slightly more mainstream due to a lower barrier to entry than a console or PC device. Women represent 41% of the mobile VR landscape, with 68% of millennial women using a premium mobile device as their primary VR headset. 54% of females aged 35 and older use a mobile VR device, primarily to watch live music content.
The firm says that as more entertainment media and interactive content is introduced over the next few years, these audiences will begin to buy into the technology, leveling out the distribution of users across all platforms.
The company estimates that women will make up a larger share of the VR audience as time goes on, representing 38% of future console owners and 35% of future PC device owners. Additionally, the introduction of more affordable headsets, such as those from Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi, will help VR penetrate the general market.
“Currently, potential owners earn at least $10,000 less than current owners, since cost remains the major barrier to entry in the industry,” says Stephanie Llamas, Vice President of Research and Product Strategy at SuperData. “The introduction of more affordable devices will open the door to the average consumer and allow them to feel more comfortable buying content for their device knowing it won’t break the bank.”
Key consumer insights from their analysis include:
• Male millennials are most likely to use console headsets (52%) over any other device, as 3 in 4 are gamers.
• Female millennials are most engaged when content features their favorite celebrities and artists (24%), while men over 35 most look forward to tourism (25%). These two groups strongly favor premium mobile headsets, which are home to a wide variety of non-gaming content.
• Overall, console viewers are the highest spenders, spending an average of $42 per month on the 46% of their content that is pay-to-play. Millennial females spend the least amount ($22) on content per month while male millennials spend almost double that.
• 49% of men 35 and up watch video content in VR, a greater share than any other age group. Men in this age group are also likely to seek out VR tourism content (25%) than other demographics and are more interesting in seeing real foreign destinations (43%) than any other feature.
• Women 35 and older are willing to spend $12 on a piece of content, which is 30% less than the rest of the VR audience.
• Male non-millennials are the second-highest spenders when it comes to gaming content ($22), but they are more frugal towards non-gaming content. Despite their interest in live content, they are willing to pay $16 (lower than both male and female millennials) for virtual event tickets.
• Female millennials are 29% less likely to experience VR than their male counterparts. They make two-thirds ($47K vs. $68K) of what male millennials do and they spend the least amount on content ($22 per month) than any other demographic. Both of these factors translate to lower spending, and in turn, less direct monetization opportunities for developers.
The full report offers an in-depth review of the drivers for consumer adoption, profiles of the average consumer, usage habits, session frequency and length, spending habits and audience share. There is also insight into the market landscape, forecasts for specific hardware and software, an outline of investments in VR and revenue projections for augmented reality and mixed reality.