US Virtual and Augmented Reality Users 2021

XR Use Expands Beyond Fun and Games

Executive Summary

Extended reality (XR) technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) are still in the early phases of adoption, but they are evolving quickly. While most use cases for VR and AR are still related to gaming, entertainment, and social media, the variety of applications is expanding as more consumers and businesses test out immersive experiences.

How many people in the US will use VR and AR this year?

We expect 58.9 million people will use VR and 93.3 million will use AR at least once per month in 2021. These numbers represent 17.7% and 28.1% of the US population, respectively.

How has the global pandemic affected the market for VR and AR?

Because the pandemic has forced many people to work, socialize, study, and shop at home, they’re using XR experiences to replace in-person ones. While supply chain and distribution issues temporarily disrupted shipments of VR hardware in H2 2020, demand for all types of XR content will translate to more users over the forecast period.

How are this year’s forecasts different from last year’s?

This year, we revised our previous estimates upward to reflect faster-than-expected growth in both VR and AR users. Pandemic-induced conditions have catalyzed interest in both technologies, and developers are stepping up to meet increased demand.

How will the introduction of 5G wireless connectivity and other advanced technologies affect VR and AR usage?

The convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and edge cloud processing will soon make it easier to deliver more seamless, enjoyable, and cost-effective XR experiences across a variety of connected devices.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes our 2019–2023 forecasts for VR and AR users in the US, along with an analysis of the forces shaping the growth of these technologies.

KEY STAT: This year, 58.9 million people in the US will use VR, and 93.3 million people will use AR at least once per month.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Pandemic Galvanizes XR Landscape
  3. Virtual Reality: A Bumpy Road to Growth
  1. Augmented Reality: Greater Utility Drives More Use
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

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Victoria Petrock


Chris Keating
Director, Research
Rini Mukhopadhyay
Forecasting Analyst
Sara M. Watson
Senior Analyst