What you need to know

In 2019 the VR market improved on a disappointing 2018, with the market value currently estimated to be £233 million, an increase of 57% from 2018. The growth has been as a result of an increase in shipments and also the higher average price of headsets, as the industry shifts away from the cheaper smartphone-based VR options.

The availability of smartphone-based VR has become more limited after Google discontinued its Daydream View headset in October 2019, while Samsung is yet to develop its Gear VR from 2015. Also, Samsung’s latest devices, the Galaxy S9, S10 and Note 10, either need an adapter or are not supported on the headset at all. Google is taking a further step away from the Cardboard by open sourcing its app platform. Smartphone-based VR headsets are also increasingly losing their appeal due to the greater number of standalone headsets available.

So whilst smartphone-based VR headsets still feature amongst the most popular VR products, this is likely to change in the upcoming years. PSVR is the most popular headset, thanks to PlayStation’s grasp of the games consoles market and the lack of competition from Xbox in the VR field. General ownership of VR headsets has increased marginally on 2018, but there has been noticeable growth in the daily use of the device – highlighting that consumers are increasingly finding use cases for them.

As well as growth in usage of headsets, the VR market also looks more positive due to an increase in non-owners who have tried the technology. This has grown by five percentage points and, now the majority of Younger Millennials (54%) have tried VR at some point. Also, there has been growth of six percentage points in intent to buy headsets in the next year. This figure reached 17% in 2019 and for Younger Millennials it is 39%.

The VR market is set to be helped by 5G, with lower latency meaning little to no lag in VR applications. The new network connection will add flexibility so consumers can use their headsets in and outside of the home.

Mintel’s Alternative Realities Trend discusses the impact of VR and AR and how brands can take advantage of consumers using these products. The Trend covers themes such as the opportunities for companies to offer virtual shopping and travel experiences through VR.

Product covered in this Report

This Report looks at the UK market for Virtual Reality. This is defined as computer-generated 3D simulations experienced through a headset and often using electronic equipment such as handheld controllers to interact with the environment. The Report includes the market for consumer virtual reality headsets and content used in and out of the home. It also focuses on usage of VR, perceptions of the technology and which applications consumers are most likely to use.

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