Virtual Reality Headsets and Millennial Men

virtual reality headsets

Imagine sitting in your living room while being immersed in a fantasy world, as promised by the looming next-generation of virtual reality headsets. While growing up in the 90s, the closest experience we had to this was playing with a View-Master and the paper disks of images. That is, except for the quick stint in the early 90s when companies tried to create virtual reality headsets, but didn’t have success. The most anticipated VR headsets are scheduled to launch towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Predictions and excitement around the headsets are anything but fantasy, further bolstered by Facebook’s $2 billion bet via acquisition of Oculus Rift.

The virtual reality industry is expected to hit $30 billion in revenue by 2020, according to Digi-Capital, which is believed to be a conservative estimate by some. Many headsets are geared towards video gamers, touting it will enhance their gaming experience. But even non-gamers appear to be watching the direction virtual reality takes. We may be seeing VR headsets on a few holiday wish lists, but on whose? CivicScience polled over 10,000 U.S. adult consumers in the summer of 2015 on their interest in purchasing a VR headset to enhance their video game play. Very few people already own one (roughly 1%), and 8% are likely to purchase a VR headset to improve their game play. And there’s the potential of more consumers joining the fun, with 9% still undecided whether or not they will make this purchase.

buy a vr headset

After combining those who are very and somewhat likely, we were able to profile the “likely buyer” of a VR headset and compared them to the general adult population. Let’s dive into the data to find out more about the likely buyers.

Millennial men want to experience virtual reality first hand. The likely buyer is 37% more likely to be male, and they are a little over 2X higher than the general population to be 18-34 years old. Millennials tend to have a lower income than average due to their age, and this holds true for likely buyers.

Media Consumption
Given the question format and the advertised use of VR headsets primarily revolving around gaming, it’s not surprising likely buyers are over 2X more likely to play video games. This likely consumer group also loves hockey – potential buyers are 2.5X as likely to following the NHL very closely. And lastly, they keep up with new trends in technology. Potential buyers are 43% more likely to read tech websites or blogs daily or weekly and are 39% more likely to follow trends and current events in electronics and technology.

Shopping Habits
Another important aspect to uncover are the shopping habits and behaviors of likely buyers. They are more likely to be market mavens, meaning they try new products before others and tell others about those products. Potential buyers are 39% more likely to be earlier adopters and 31% more likely evangelize about new brands or technology, which can be seen in the bar charts below:

Potential buyers are also likely to do research and check online reviews before making purchases. And despite their lower income level, they aren’t afraid to spend money on themselves – they are 28% more likely to say they splurge on purchases.

buying a vr set


enhance gaming experience

Digital Device Ownership
We tend to find that millennials have higher device ownership rates and are more likely to be addicted to those digital devices, and likely VR headset buyers are no exception. They are 80% more likely to be addicted to their digital devices.

We also found some other interesting insights on likely buyers:

  • Potential buyers must have a soft spot for animals, especially cats. They are 65% more likely to own one or more cats.
  • They are 40% more likely to exercise several times a month or more and are 28% more likely to purchase organic food on a regular basis. Not only do likely VR headset buyers tend to be more active individuals, but they also care about what they eat.

Prior to the release of the more popular VR headsets, we see some consumers are already excited about owning a headset to enhance their gaming experience. Likely buyers display attributes that lead us to believe the VR industry will see success since they are prone to be early adopters, likely to be spokespeople for these products, and likely to tell their friends and family about their experience.

And here’s a closing insight for you: potential consumers are more likely to splurge on themselves, so the price point of VR headsets probably won’t be an issue for these lower income millennials.

About the CivicScience Methodology:
CivicScience collects real-time consumer research data via polling applications that run on hundreds of U.S. publisher websites. The 10,190 respondents for this report were weighted for the U.S. Census, 18 years and older, and data were collected from June 30 2015 to September 15, 2015. The full report behind this article can be found online here.

Article by Laura Albert, Market Data Analyst

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