New Virtual Reality Research

Virtual Reality diffusion rates are low – but very little is know what factors drive adoption. In a recent study, published in Technological Forecasting & Social Change, we assessed this novel media technology.

Bsed on a sample of more than 600 respondents in Germany, we can now give some insights into the adoption decision making of German consumers. Lets start with some general insights of our study (Herzy & Rauschnabel, 2019):

  • 13.3% of the respondents have never heard of VR before
  • 76.6% do not have experience with VR, but have heard of VR before
  • 8.7% have experience with VR, but do not own a device
  • 1.4% actually on a VR device


Given the enormous potential of VR (see also Chuah, 2019), these numbers are frustrating. Indeed, I have collected similar data in the US a year ago and the numbers were very similar.

So what could be the reason why people are skeptical toward VR? Well, first of all, the fact that ~90% of the respondents have never heard of, or tried, VR, is important. Manufacturers must invest more into their marketing strategies and make people try VR. In discussions with managers, for example, I often hear problems in motivating people to try VR. I see similar problems in my classes or executive workshops: When I present the latest technology, even among the participants, there are still some people who just do not want to try them.

Well, people expect VR to be “bad looking” and as “unwearable” – that is, bulky, heavy etc. Consumers also expect VR as a means to provide functional value and not just, but also, entertainment. Finally, expcted privacy risks (contrary to AR, as discussed in Rauschnabel, He & Ro, 2018) and health risks seem to reduce consumers’ willingness to adopt a VR device. You can read detailed results in the paper, which you can download using the following links: Sciencedirect | researchgate | internal (temp)



Chuah, S. H. W. (2018), ‘Reality technology adoption: literature review, reference models, and future research agenda’, working paper, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Department of Operation Management, School of Management (Download )
Herz, M., & Rauschnabel, P. A. (2019). Understanding the diffusion of virtual reality glasses: The role of media, fashion and technology. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 138, 228-242.
Rauschnabel, P. A., He, J., & Ro, Y. K. (2018). Antecedents to the adoption of augmented reality smart glasses: A closer look at privacy risks. Journal of Business Research, 92, 374-384.

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