In a word: When Facebook changed its name to Meta at the end of last year, it was more than just a rebranding. The move signaled that the social media company was finally taking what was to come seriously; Namely, it’s pushing into the metaverse and vicariously, its plans for Oculus. Rightly so, it looks like sales of the company’s Oculus headsets are gaining ground.
IDC estimates Meta sold between 5.3 million and 6.8 million VR devices in 2021. The final numbers will not be known until the fourth quarter data is finalized and even then Meta does not regularly release sales data from Oculus, so we may never know for sure. Even in this lineup, it would still be better than the 3.5 million units the company is said to have sold in 2020.
Jefferies and KeyBanc Capital reported that downloads of the Oculus app increased over the holiday week, with Jefferies’ Brent Thill noting that daily active users on Christmas Day were up 90% from the same time in 2020.
Facebook bought Oculus for $ 2 billion in 2014, but hasn’t really done much with the acquisition until recently. Looking back, it’s entirely possible that Facebook was just waiting for hardware and technology to catch up with its vision.
Indeed, most early decent-quality VR headsets (not the cardboard smartphone-assisted viewers) required a physical tether to transfer data and power to the host system, severely limiting their appeal. Sales increased dramatically once true wireless systems began to hit the market.
While the data from the Oculus vacation app is promising, time will tell to what extent this activity turns out to be more than occasional use.