Back in October, a report from Strategy Analytics revealed that very few Britons will end up buying premium VR headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR while a bulk of buyers will go for cheaper headsets like the Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR. “Despite the rush of companies eager to jump in, the reality is that VR take-up among the British public will be a slow burn and dominated by low-cost headsets. The VR headset market will be much like the car market – most owning the likes of Vauxhalls and Fords, a handful owning Porsches and the odd few splashing out on a Ferrari,” they said.
Consumers like VR but not pricey headsets like Vive
However, a new research conducted by CCS Insight and commissioned by Carphone Warehouse now claims that VR devices have had the highest growth rate among the main wearable categories this year. The report goes on to add that sales of virtual reality devices are expected to increase by 172% globally and that 45% of adults in the UK have had some kind of virtual reality experience. Thanks to their experiences, around 51% of adults want to buy VR headsets to access gaming content, 21% to view travel experiences and 8% for watching music concerts which they cannot attend.
The report, however, added that a large number of people are still confused about buying VR headsets. Around 57% adults think they ae too expensive, 8% think they might look silly using it and 7% aren't sure about the content available to them. Despite such reservations, 10% of British adults said that they would want to buy or ask for virtual reality headsets for Christmas.
“Christmas 2016 will see VR become truly mainstream. Gaming is without doubt the reason most consumers are interested in VR but this is just the beginning. As more and more players enter the market, the more content and choice of headsets will become available. Whether it’s to visit the Maldives on Christmas day from the comfort of your sofa, or opting to enjoy the latest music gig during the Queen’s speech, there’s content available for everyone to try out, regardless of age or interests,” said Dean Kramer, Director of Accessories, Carphone Warehouse.
Based on the positive sales outlook of VR headsets before and during Christmas, Carphone Warehouse are now offering a nuumber of cheap VR headsets ar throwaway prices. The retailer is offering GOJI 3D Cardboard VR and Goji VR Headset for £7.99 and £24.99 respectively but you can also but a Google Daydream View for £68.99 and a Samsung Gear VR Headset for £79.99.
Facebook's Oculus Rift costs almost as much as HTC Vive
Thanks to the latest report, what we know is that even though people are interested in trying out VR headsets, they are not as willing in spending a lot of money on them. The likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require high-end PCs to run and this may be a turn off for a large number of users who prefer not to spend large sums on VR headsets, especially at a time when VR hasn't become essential part of our lives. The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR cost £659, £770 and £350 respectively which makes the £10 Google Cardboard VR headset a bargain for VR beginners.
"The experience of a Google Cardboard versus an HTC Vive is as different as listening to a car stereo versus being in the front row of a concert. Yet, despite the differences in quality of VR experiences, only 10% of the UK population is expected to buy VR headsets by 2018, a number which will rise to 25% by 2019. “Despite the slow start, there’s a real opportunity in the longer term," said David MacQueen from Strategy Analytics’ global wireless practice.