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Virtual Reality Interest Highest Among Gen Z

VR even appeals to baby boomers

Although virtual reality is still in its early stages, consumer interest is highest among Gen Z. But younger generations aren’t the only ones fascinated by the technology; older generations are drawn to it too.

US Internet Users Who Are Interested in Virtual Reality, by Generation, Oct 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

According to October 2015 data from Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research, 79% of Gen Z US internet users—defined as those ages 10 to 18—said they are interested in virtual reality. But other generations were also drawn to the technology.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of millennials said they are interested in virtual reality and 70% of Gen Xers said they were as well. Virtual reality even appeals to baby boomers; 64% of them said they were interested in it.

Younger generations are likely most excited about virtual reality because of how it will elevate their gaming experience. Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, is already available for purchase, and Sony will launch its PlayStation VR next year. However, virtual reality is not just for gaming. Retailers are also harnessing its power to help improve the overall shopping experience.

Ways in Which US Internet Users Believe Virtual Reality* Would Affect Their Shopping Experience, Dec 2014 (% of respondents)

December 2014 research by Walker Sands found that more than one-third of US internet users said VR would make them open to purchasing more online since it would give them a more realistic feel of the product remotely. Additionally, 22% of respondents said they would be less likely to visit a physical retail store with the introduction of VR.

But virtual reality has ways to go before the intersection of retail and technology fully merges. For example, Walker Sands also revealed that 37% of internet users said they don’t believe that virtual reality would impact their shopping experience and 19% of respondents said they would be unlikely to use virtual reality in their shopping experience.

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