Emerging Technology

Widespread use of virtual reality could take years, in 25% of households by 2021: Report

Dominic Powell /

Widespread consumer uptake of virtual and augmented reality systems will likely take years, and when it does happen, it will mostly be focused on video games, according to recently released research from advisory firm Telsyte.

In its Australian VR & AR Market Study 2017 report, Telsyte shows 216,000 VR headsets were sold during 2016, and forecasts 25% of Australian households will have a VR headset by 2021. Currently, around 2.3% of households contain headsets.

Read more: How virtual reality will change the face of e-commerce

Big-name systems like Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive made up only 30% of headsets sold over the past year, with mobile headsets like Google Cardboard or Daydream accounting for 70% of purchases.

Around half of the 1060 consumers surveyed by Telsyte said they would purchase a VR headset to use for gaming, movies, or other entertainment purposes. Telsyte predicts the majority of growth in the VR sector will be fuelled by greater adoption from content producers, especially big-name game producers.

“We are entering a chicken and egg scenario with VR adoption,” Telsyte managing director, Foad Fadaghi said in a statement.

“Developers are looking for a growing base of users before making large investments, at the same time mainstream technology buyers are waiting for killer VR content or applications.”

Fadaghi believes SMEs could start to see the benefits of increased VR usage over the next decade.

“Over the next decade, Virtual and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies will create opportunities for small and medium size businesses to interact with their customers in new immersive ways,” he said.

“Many organisations are investigating VR and AR applications to help transform their businesses much like mobile apps and websites did over the past decade.“

In May 2016, Myer partnered with online shopping giant eBay to create a virtual reality department store, which was labelled at the time an “experiment in sensory marketing”.

Other attempts for businesses to implement VR include McDonald’s providing 3500 basic VR headsets in the form of Happy Meal boxes, and advertising installations from dedicated VR company S1T2.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany. Email him at [email protected].

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