Nielsen: Exposure to VR Critical to Growing Users

NEW YORK—Virtual reality is one of the more intriguing new technologies in the industry, but its success is still up in the air. Who and how the new technology will be adopted by consumers will be critical in determining its success, and so Nielsen recently conducted a survey of more than 8,000 consumers to try and determine just what the current market for VR looks like.

The study found that VR is more of a concept that people like than something they fully understand, but that the more exposure to VR that people receive the more they learn and become enthusiastic about it, leading them to become more likely to adopt the technology at some point.

Among those surveyed in the 18-54 age range, Nielsen was able to categorize about 24 percent of them as PaVRs, those who are likely to purchase VR within the next year. PaVRs tended to be younger and have a higher-than-average income, and are more likely to adopt new services, according to Harry Brisson, director of lab research at Nielsen.

Another group that Nielsen was able to focus in on was ConVRts, 18-54 year olds that aren’t the most likely to try, but continued exposure and additional information leads to an increased interest level. Around 20 percent of the 18-54 aged surveyors fell into this category.

Part of the study had respondents exposed to publicly available video content about VR’s potential applications. Nielsen reports that with as little as two minutes of exposure to this content a little more than 50 percent of respondents showed “some increase in their likelihood of purchasing or using VR technology;” 48 percent found the technology more likeable and the same number said they would do more research on it afterward.

For those who were able to actually use a VR headset to view content, those numbers spiked. As high as 68 percent of people said they were more likely to purchase or use VR technology after the experience.

“These shifts in intent demonstrate how more education and exposure will continue to change consumer attitudes about virtual reality,” concluded the Nielsen report.