NPD Begins Tracking VR Headsets

Entertainment research firm The NPD Group will begin tracking both virtual and augmented reality headset sales as part of its Retail Tracking Service, with the data updating monthly and going back at least 12 months.

The service aims to give both retailers and manufacturers a clear picture on how the category is performing and comes during the all-important holiday shopping season.

“In such a young category it can be extremely challenging for manufacturers and retailers to gather the information needed to make the most informed business decisions,” said Ian Hamilton, president of NPD’s technology sector. “However, we can now deliver the information they are looking for to better understand the size and traits of the U.S. VR/AR market, allowing them the opportunity to make strategic choices to grow their business.”

The first nugget of data to come out of the new tracking service: during the six-month period between May and October, U.S. dollar sales of VR and AR devices combined were up 300% compared to the previous six months (November 2015 to April 2016).

“Given the growing interest in VR/AR technology and the wide range of products available to meet consumer needs, we anticipate 2016 holiday sales have the potential to double 2015 holiday sales,” said Ben Arnold, executive director and industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Whether intended for use with a mobile phone, gaming console or PC, there are a wide range of VR/AR devices available at a number of price points, and the data we are able to provide will help clients better understand what products are most appealing to consumers.”