February 13, 2017 Last Updated 3:20 pm

Virtual Reality gaining market traction

Guest column: Two recent ReportLinker surveys showed that about 57 percent of respondents had heard of VR, with Samsung Gear the most recognized branded device

Virtual reality is coming back to the technology sphere. Since its failed market release in the 1990s, new developers are making a second attempt to gain market traction.  Since the 1990s, consumers have been primed for more automated and virtual features with the advent of smartphones and 3-D gaming platforms that have made games appear more life-like.

Two recent ReportLinker surveys showed that about 57% of respondents had heard of virtual reality. Between the first survey in September 2016 and the second survey in January 2017, the percentage of those who were familiar with virtual reality increased by 15 points from 16% to 31%.  Those who had never heard of virtual reality decreased by 14 points from 26% to 12%.

The industry has truly made strides in increasing market awareness of this in that 2-month period between surveys. Samsung gained the most in awareness.  In September 2016, only 9% were aware of the Samsung virtual reality brand and most respondents could not name any brand at all.  However, in the most recent January survey, 28% reported Samsung as the first brand to come to mind, Oculus (10%) was the second most recognized brand followed by Google (5%) and HTC (2%).  Overall recognition of any brand has increased while the percentage of those unaware of any brand decreased 16 points to 35%. Facebook had great influence and affect when marketing Oculus Rift and Google’s release of Daydream also enhanced industry competition.

When asked which type of device they heard about, respondents most reported Samsung Gear (58%) followed by Google Cardboard (32%) and Oculus Rift (31%). This is good news for the industry when the first step to gaining market share is increasing product awareness.  Yet, Samsung stands to gain the most from these marketing efforts.

Since the first survey the overall positive attitude towards virtual reality also increased from 72% to 83%.  Consumers are beginning to see virtual reality is a true technology player now more than 3 months ago. Though Millennials were early adopters of virtual reality, older generations are beginning to take to the technology as marketing efforts aim to show the benefits of this technology for all ages. In September of 2016, only 68% of older respondents had a positive attitude now 83% have a positive attitude.

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