New consumer electronics and gadgets were the stars of this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Deals ranged from gaming consoles to drones to mobile phones, with Daydream VR ready Google Pixel notably outperforming Apple's iPhone 7 during the weekend sales. As expected, virtual reality also was prominently featured in numerous Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for the first time. This will help VR devices as the holiday season approaches.
Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a standards and trade organization for the consumer electronics industry, announced in its 2016 Post Black Friday Survey that a record number of consumers (61.7 million) bought technology during Black Friday Week (Nov. 21 - Nov. 28).
“It was also a breakout year for emerging tech," CTA’s chief economist Shawn DuBravac said. "These nascent devices, including digital assistant devices, virtual reality and drones, landed on the front page of retailer's Black Friday ads — and shopper's baskets — for the first time this year.”
This new enthusiasm surrounding technology will only help the VR industry as more consumers hear, see and try VR devices. There is strong evidence to support higher consumer knowledge of VR devices and strong desire to seek out a VR experience. According to Greenlight Insights' 2016 Virtual Reality Consumer Adoption Report, 86.3% of surveyed consumers who had VR experience were likely to seek out a VR experience compared 66.7% of consumers who did not have VR experience. Demoing VR devices at stores, events and eventually location-based VR centers will be important to the growth of consumer knowledge of VR.
This is the first Black Friday weekend where virtual reality is publicized and the die-hard enthusiasts and early-adopters have already pre-ordered the out-of-stock PlayStation VR and soon-to-be-released Oculus Touch.
Will virtual reality devices be the top selling holiday item? No. The industry is still striving for mainstream adoption. The sales and advertisements for VR devices will help the industry trigger consumer curiosity, which will lead to more understanding surrounding the emerging industry.