Virtual reality (VR) in Europe - statistics & facts

Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. The aim of VR is to create a sensory experience for the user sometimes including sight, touch, hearing, smell, or even taste. Global spending on augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) is forecast to amount to 18.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, whilst the consumer VR hardware and software market alone is projected to increase to 5.1 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. The potential impacts of new technologies like VR are now more apparent, with forecasts suggesting VR will boost gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide by 450.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2030. In addition to this, it is predicted that over 23 million jobs globally will be enhanced by VR/AR technologies globally by 2030.

In Europe, the AR/VR market is forecast to reach 50.55 billion U.S. dollars by 2026, with the use cases of VR widening and developing as businesses realize the full potential. For European nations, VR is similarly forecast to bring about economic benefits. A boost to GDP of 29.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2030 has been projected in Germany, whilst in the UK, GDP is forecast to receive a 20.1 billion U.S. dollar boost as a result of VR technology. Furthermore, over 400 thousand jobs will be enhanced by VR/AR in both Germany and the UK by 2030, an increase from the 10 to 15 thousand jobs that were enhanced by VR/AR in each of these countries in 2019.

Currently, standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual environment. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display (HMD) - a wraparound headset which does not allow light or images from the real world to interfere with the virtual one. VR headset suppliers include HTC, Oculus, PlayStation and Valve, with millennials more likely than members of any other generation to own a VR headset in the UK.

VR gaming and VR video make up the largest consumer use cases for VR technology, with 20.8 billion U.S. dollars expected to be spent worldwide in 2023 on these areas alone. In Poland, a fifth of gamers used VR devices, with a VR mobile set among the most common device types. However, experts have suggested that the benefits of VR will have an impact upon industry too, with improvements to efficiency a real possibility. As a result, by 2023 it is expected that industrial usage worldwide will be three times larger than that of consumers.

Extended reality (XR) is an emerging term for all immersive technologies, including VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR), plus those that are yet to be created. Immersive, or XR, technologies, extend the reality we experience by either merging the virtual and the “real” worlds, or by creating a fully immersive experience, and it is expected that these technologies will become as prominent as mobile devices are in today’s market.

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