How Many People Use Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) has been gaining significant traction in recent years, promising to revolutionise not only the gaming industry but also multiple sectors such as healthcare, education, and training.

Through a combination of hardware and software, VR creates immersive and interactive experiences for users, allowing them to engage with digital content in ways that were not possible before. With the constant advancement in technology, the VR market size is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

In the United States, the number of VR users has been steadily increasing. In 2020, 83.7 million people used virtual reality at least once, and this number is projected to rise further.

An additional report shows that 58.9 million people will use VR in the US by 2021 and that the market size for both augmented reality (AR) and VR is forecast to hit $296.9 billion in 2024.

Globally, VR revenues are expected to surpass $12 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 18 percent from 2021 to 2028.

The increasing adoption of VR technology can be attributed to various factors, including more affordable and accessible hardware, a rise in compelling content, and the growing interest in immersive experiences.

As the VR landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for businesses and individuals to understand the potential of this technology and its implications for multiple domains. With a wide range of possible applications and an expanding user base, there is no doubt that virtual reality is set to shape the future of various industries and redefine human-computer interactions.

Current VR User Statistics

Global VR User Numbers

The global virtual reality (VR) market is growing steadily. VR revenues are expected to surpass $12 billion by 2024. With the increase in revenues, the number of users also grows. In the United States alone, there were 57.4 million VR users in 2020.

While exact global VR user numbers are difficult to pinpoint, it is evident that the industry is on the rise. The growing interest and advancement in technology will continue driving the adoption of VR across various sectors such as gaming, education, and healthcare.

Regional Breakdown

The number of VR users varies greatly among different regions. The United States is a major player in the VR market with a considerable user base. In 2020, 83.7 million VR and AR users existed in the country. By 2023, that number is expected to grow further.

In contrast, the distribution of VR users in other regions remains diverse. As emerging markets begin to adopt VR technologies, the user base will likely expand worldwide. This growth will depend on technology accessibility, affordability, and the extent to which VR gets integrated into various industries.

To summarise, the current VR user statistics show a promising trajectory for the industry. With expanding markets and increased global revenue, the number of VR users is expected to grow consistently in the coming years.

Historical Growth in VR Users

Timeline of VR Adoption

Virtual Reality (VR) has seen significant growth in recent years. Here is a brief timeline of VR adoption:

  • 2018: There were an estimated 171 million active VR users globally.
  • 2020: The number of VR users in the United States alone reached 83.7 million.
  • 2023: The number of VR users is expected to continue increasing, with the market size projected to hit $296.9 billion by 2024.

Factors Driving Growth

There are various factors contributing to the growth in VR users:

  1. Technological advancements: As VR technology becomes more sophisticated and immersive, users are increasingly drawn to the experience.
  2. Affordability: VR headsets and accessories have become more affordable, making it easier for consumers to access VR technology.
  3. Growth in VR gaming: VR gaming revenues reached $22.9 billion in 2020, demonstrating the popularity and demand for VR gaming experiences.
  4. Increased familiarity: 78% of Americans are now familiar with VR technology, indicating widespread awareness and interest.
  5. Expanding applications: VR is being used across various industries, from entertainment and education to healthcare and training, opening up new opportunities for growth.

By understanding the timeline and factors driving the growth in VR users, we can better anticipate future trends and developments in the virtual reality market.

Demographic Profile of VR Users

Age Distribution

The age distribution of VR users is quite diverse, as virtual reality technology attracts people from different age groups. According to various studies, the majority of VR users fall within the age range of 18-34 years old.

However, it is worth noting that there is a significant percentage of users in the 35-54 age range, as well as a smaller portion within the 55+ age group. The widespread adoption of VR technology can be attributed to its various applications, including gaming, education, and professional training.

Gender Distribution

When it comes to gender distribution, studies have found that men are more likely to be users of virtual reality technology than women

. However, the gap between male and female VR users is gradually narrowing, as VR developers introduce a more diverse range of applications that appeal to different demographics. It is essential for the industry to continue striving towards inclusivity and ensuring that technology caters to the interests and preferences of both genders.

In summary, the demographic profile of VR users is diverse in terms of age distribution, with the majority of users being within the 18-34 age range. There is a noticeable gap between male and female users, but efforts are being made to encourage a more balanced gender distribution within the VR community.

Different Types of VR Users

Virtual reality (VR) technology has a diverse user base, ranging from gamers to healthcare professionals. This section will explore three main categories of VR users: Gamers and Entertainment Enthusiasts, Educational and Training Users, and Healthcare and Therapeutic Users.

Gamers and Entertainment Enthusiasts

Gamers and entertainment enthusiasts make up a significant portion of the VR user base. These users enjoy immersive experiences that transport them into a different world through their VR headsets. Popular VR gaming genres include:

  • Action and Adventure: high-intensity games that require fast reflexes and immersive exploration
  • Simulation: games that replicate real-world experiences, such as driving or flying
  • Puzzle: challenging the player’s problem-solving skills in a virtual environment

Additionally, VR technology also caters to entertainment enthusiasts by offering virtual concerts, live events, and virtual tours.

Educational and Training Users

VR has become a valuable tool in education and training, with institutions and organisations adopting this technology to improve the learning experience. VR users in these sectors include:

  • Students: who benefit from immersive and interactive learning environments that can facilitate better understanding and retention of information
  • Educators: that use VR to create engaging lesson plans and provide innovative teaching methods
  • Corporate trainers: who utilise VR to simulate real-world scenarios for employee training and development, such as safety drills or sales pitches

Healthcare and Therapeutic Users

Healthcare and therapeutic users make up another significant category of VR users. These individuals use VR for various purposes, such as:

  • Medical professionals: utilising VR to simulate surgical procedures for training and practice, and to treat patients non-invasively
  • Physical therapists: using VR to help patients with recovery and rehabilitation exercises
  • Mental health professionals: incorporating VR in therapeutic treatments for conditions like anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

In summary, VR technology caters to a diverse user base by providing immersive experiences for entertainment, educational, and medical purposes. It has opened up new opportunities and applications across various sectors, demonstrating its potential to continue revolutionising the way we live, learn, and work.

Future Projections for VR Users

Expected Growth Rates

As of 2023, there are 65.9 million VR users in the U.S., with an estimated 171 million VR users worldwide.

With the market showing no signs of slowing down, we can anticipate significant growth in the coming years. By 2024, the number of mobile augmented reality (AR) user devices is predicted to reach a staggering 1.7 billion worldwide.

Factors Impacting Future Adoption

Several factors influence the adoption and popularity of VR technology. These include:

  • Affordability: As the price of VR headsets and equipment decreases, more people will likely invest in this technology.
  • Technological advancements: As VR technology improves, providing more immersive and realistic experiences, the appeal of the medium will grow.
  • Wider range of applications: As the range of applications for VR expands beyond gaming into areas such as education, healthcare, and business, more industries and end-users will adopt VR technology.

Looking at these trends, it is evident that VR user numbers will continue to increase in the coming years. The ongoing developments in VR technology and increasing applications across various industries will help drive this growth.



I’m the resident head of comms and partnerships here at Draw & Code. I work on strategy, sales, marketing and other vital areas at a studio that was founded on a dream and has spent the intervening decade trying to make that dream come true. I believe that immersive and interactive technologies are impacting on our lives and being in the epicentre of this industry makes every day a thrill.

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