Quest 2: Did Meta really sell 15 million units?
A market researcher claims that Meta has sold just under 15 million Quest 2 headsets. What is the basis for this estimate?
Meta itself has not given any sales figures, neither for Meta Quest 2 nor any other VR headset. All that is known is that the headset is selling better than all of Meta's previous VR devices combined.
Last week, Jeronimo Francisco of market research firm IDC claimed in a tweet that Quest 2 has sold 14.8 million units since its launch in October 2020 and is the most successful VR headset on the market. The question is how this number came about.
.@MetaQuestVR OculusQuest2 is the most successful #VR headset to date. With nearly 15mn units sold since its announcement at @facebook Connect 7 in Sep 2020, the Quest2 has contributed to massive growth in VR sales & consumer adoption?
VR sales grew 97% in 2021 & 242% in 1Q22 pic.twitter.com/7dIe42FSo7
- Francisco Jeronimo (He/Him) (@fjeronimo) June 6, 2022
The tweet itself does not contain more detailed information on the estimate and a query from me went unanswered.
IDC says it feeds its market analysis from multiple sources: It surveys retailers and consumers, examines supply chains and relies on data sets maintained by a global market research network.
Meta provides XR sales figures
Hype forecasts and numbers whose origin is not clear: They bring IDC and its colleagues a lot of attention, but they can damage the industry because they raise unrealistic expectations. IDC has been tracking the VR and AR market for many years and has already been very wrong with its forecasts - just look at the past.
A better, because comprehensible estimate of the sales figures is provided by Mark Boland from AR Insider. He relies on figures that come from Meta itself: the quarterly revenues of Reality Labs, Meta's VR and AR division.
The company has been providing a more detailed look at the revenue and expenses of its own future business since the first quarter of 2022, with revenue data going back to the fourth quarter of 2020, the launch period of Meta Quest 2.
Less than ten million Quest 2 sales?
How much of that revenue is due to sales of the Quest 2 is not known. According to David Wehner, Meta's chief financial officer, the turnover is mainly due to the Quest 2. It is also known that app sales account for about a quarter of the revenue.
Boland arrives at just under 9 million Quest headsets sold, including Meta Quest 1, based on Meta's numbers and his own calculations. He expects the company to crack or have already surpassed the 10 million mark this quarter.
That would be a significant milestone: Zuckerberg defined a goal in 2018 of reaching ten million VR users on a single platform. Once that mark is reached, the market will "explode," Zuckerberg said.
However, the number of devices sold is not the same as the number of users, and if Boland's estimate is correct, the former mark will probably not even be exceeded. We also know from John Carmack that many purchased VR headsets lie unused in the closet.
Overall, it matters less how many devices Meta sold so far. What's more important is an enthusiastic user base because only they regularly spend money on apps and thus keep the ecosystem alive. That's why Meta prefers to talk about the developers' success rather than sales figures. And perhaps also because the sales figures are not particularly impressive.