American teens are virtually ignoring virtual reality


Marketers and trend-watchers love to use data to try and suss out what teens are up to, and Gen Alpha (that’s what the generation after “Z/Zoomers” is called) is no exception.

In fact, for 45 years running, Piper Sandler has published the results of their exhaustive teen surveys that “highlight discretionary spending trends and brand preferences.”

This year’s report garnered responses from 5,690 teens across 47 U.S. states with an average age of 16.2 years.

Virtual reality is not a priority for Gen Alpha.

Despite companies like Meta making massive bets on Virtual Reality and the “metaverse,” it seems teens are still lukewarm on the tech.

Piper Sandler’s report, titled Taking Stock With Teens, found that:

  • 29% of teens own a VR device
  • 14% used their VR device weekly
  • 4% used their VR device daily
  • 7% planned to purchase a VR device any time soon

This could be bad news for Meta, which has already lost $13.7 billion on its Reality Labs project.

meta virtual reality haptic glove prototype on a right hand
Image: Meta Reality Labs Research

What do “the teens” like?

Aside from the Virtual Reality numbers, the report shows that teen culture is becoming more fractional and niche. Highlights from the Taking Stock With Teens include:

  • Food was the #1 spending priority for males at 24%
  • clothing was #1 for females at 28%
  • CashApp is the most popular peer-to-peer money app with 41% share, Venmo is #2 with 39%
  • 57% of teens report Amazon to be their favorite shopping site
  • Top three restaurants are Chik-fil-A (13%), Starbucks (12%), and Chipotle (7%)
  • Top three social platforms are TikTok (37%), SNAP (27%), and Instagram (23%)
  • Top two video platforms are Netflix (31%) and Youtube (28%)

If you’re interested in a deeper dive, you can request the full report from Piper Sandler directly. It’s not a crystal ball, but it contains key learnings for anyone trying to make sense of “kids today.”

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Roger Feeley-Lussier is a recovering Social Media Expert who lives in Central Massachusetts.


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