Teens are split on the metaverse, most barely use VR headsets, survey shows

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Usage of Facebook and Instagram is in steady decline among younger users, but Meta may not find it easier to build an audience in its new virtual reality gambit. A recent Gen Z research report by Piper Sandler (thanks, Fast Company) said that 50% of teens surveyed are unsure about “the metaverse” or don’t have any interest, and don’t plan to purchase a VR headset.

26% of teens own a VR device, according to the survey, but only 5% use it daily, while 48% of teen headset owners “seldom” use it. Of the teens who don’t own a VR headset, only 9% actively plan to buy one.

68% of the teens surveyed self-identified as gamers, however. Meta may be banking on the belief that gamers can become metaversers given enough of a nudge toward Horizon Worlds, which it launched as a social and gaming VR platform back in December.

Piper Sandler survey also reveals that 87% of teens have heard of cryptocurrency, and 11% say they have taken part in a transaction. Over 7,000 teens from 44 states were part of the survey group, and the average age was 16. 

(If you’re wondering who qualifies as Gen Z here, it’s anyone born between 1997 and 2012. Millennials were born between 1980 and 1996.)

A different survey (which polled over 4,000 adults) by the Morning Consult shows that about half of the Millennials and Gen Z adults say they are either “interested or somewhat interested” in the metaverse but show slightly less interest in both Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workroom, Meta’s platform for business meetings held in virtual reality. 

Both surveyors seem to be equating the metaverse and VR, though Fornite and Roblox are often considered part of “the metaverse” and are not VR games. It’s a nebulous term.

Companies like Sony and Lego recently invested billions on Epic’s metaverse geared towards kids. However, it seems like Meta will have to do a better job attracting young people from meat space into its virtual one. 

Bonus fact: The favorite snack of the teens surveyed was Goldfish crackers and their favorite clothing brand was Nike. Not relevant, but it’s always good to know what the kids are into. 

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