One in four US teenagers owns a VR headset – but barely uses it

One in four US teenagers owns a VR headset – but barely uses it

According to a new survey, many teens in the U.S. own VR headsets, but few use them daily.

The Meta Quest 2 is a popular gadget, especially among kids and teens. At Christmas, there were numerous posts on social networks showing joyful reactions to Quest 2 as a Christmas gift.

The question is how long the enthusiasm will last. A survey by the U.S. investment bank Piper Sandler is rather pessimistic: According to the study, 26 percent of U.S. teenagers own VR headsets, but only five percent use them daily. Most of these devices are likely to be Meta’s Quest 2, but the study doesn’t go into detail about the devices.

Piper Sandler surveyed 7,100 Generation Z teens and young adults. The average age of the respondents is 16. The survey was conducted in February and March 2022.

Good sales, poor usage

The survey confirms what former Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack said last year about Meta Quest 2 VR usage: that while there are plenty of devices in circulation, they are being used irregularly.

“We have people […] for which zero dollars is not cheap enough to make the current headsets valuable”, Carmack said.

He added that there are many inactive VR users who don’t find a reason to take the VR headset out of the closet. Carmack cites a lack of app variety as a possible reason.

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Carmack’s comments and the survey show that there is a mismatch between the penetration and usage of VR headsets. From an economic perspective, the latter is more important because only active VR users buy apps and pump money into the ecosystem.

Teenagers: not interested in the Metaverse?

For Meta and Mark Zuckerberg, the target group of teenagers is particularly significant because they are the future of the company. Facebook is considered uncool among teenagers, but Instagram is also increasingly losing popularity. The same survey found that TikTok is currently the most popular social media platform (33 percent), followed by Snapchat (31 percent) and Instagram (22 percent).

The renaming of Facebook to Meta and the risky bet on the Metaverse is an investment in the future and an attempt to win the favor of the young and coming generations. Generation Z, it seems, is not yet very enthusiastic: 48 percent of respondents are either not interested in the Metaverse concept or unsure what to make of it.

It is unclear whether they were also asked about platforms such as Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite, which are known to be popular with teens. It’s quite possible that they simply don’t know what to make of the term metaverse – just like many other people.

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