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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : May 06, 2016

69% of consumers excited about experiencing virtual reality

Virtual reality is catching the eye of the brands and marketers the world over. It promises the opportunity of making deeper and more meaningful connections with audiences than ever before and, according to new research from the Advanced Imaging Society, consumers are just as excited about the new technology as the marketing industry.

by Helen Leggatt

Virtual reality can take consumers to real or imagined places instantly. Imagine being able to transport your audience into a virtual showroom, give them a virtual test drive, or take them on a tour of your manufacturing plant.

Several brands have already experimented with virtual reality. Tommy Hilfiger allowed store visitors to use virtual reality to take a front seat at their fall 2015 fashion show. The North Face transported virtual reality users to extreme locations such as Yosemite and Everest. Marriott teleported users from London to Hawaii.

It is just such experiences that consumers in the U.S. are excited about, according to research from the Advanced Imaging Society. Their survey of 1,000 adults found that 69% between the ages of 18 and 60 were excited about experiencing virtual reality.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, interest was greatest among younger consumers (72% of 18-29 year olds said they were looking forward to experiencing virtual reality), however almost as many 30-44 year olds said the same (70%) and even among older age groups (45-60) interest was high (62%).

"These results are remarkable for a new entertainment medium," said Jim Chabin, President of the Advanced Imaging Society. "Significantly, fully two-thirds of respondents reported that they are 'more excited' about VR than they were of either HDTV or 3D in their earliest days," Chabin added. "And across the board, consumers who have already 'experienced VR' are even more enthusiastic," he added.

Being able to explore places they can not travel to and experience entertainment more deeply were two of the factors that most excited consumers about virtual reality. However, two-thirds felt that the equipment was currently too expensive, and half thought it too bulky.

Earlier this year, Futuresource Consulting surveyed 3,000 adult consumers in the U.S. and Western Europe to find out what types of content interests those wishing to watch or experience virtual reality.

The results, published in the report 'Virtual Reality - Niche or Mass Market?', reveal that 39% were most interested in watching or experiencing virtual reality movies followed closely by games (38%). Just over a quarter (27%) expressed interest in virtual reality television and music, 26% said educational content and 26% sports.

Tags: advertising, brand marketing, technology, virtual reality

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