Active VW user forecast: 2009 – 2013

‘Tis the season to release forecasts’. Well, we tend to do this all year round, but seeing as we’re fast approaching 2010, here’s some charts we usually keep wrapped up for special occasions – our active user forecast for the virtual worlds sector.

First up, the headline chart, total unique active users from 2009 to 2013.

The 2009 year end forecast for active users in the virtual worlds sector is 136m (compared to circa 750m total registered accounts). This has been calculated by assessing the active user data we hold for a range of large (and small) virtual worlds, combined with research relating to users having accounts across multiple worlds (to take out duplicates).

We expect 2010 to be a major year for virtual world growth, both from new worlds coming to market supported by major marketing pushes, along with a pick-up in the overall economy and a continuation of increasing awareness and resonance towards the sector.

The next chart shows our forecast by age band, following the same banding as our Universe charts.

user forecasts virtual worlds.003The five to ten year old group currently has 20m active users according to our calculations, growing to 46m in 2010 and up to 95m in 2013. Of all the age ranges, this is group we expect lowest future growth in, compared to other ranges.

The ten to 15 year old age band according to our forecast will be the largest growth area, from 61m in 2009 through to 289m in 2011 and 722m in 2013. The table at the bottom of this post contains forecasted active user numbers by band and year.

User forecasts proportionately are shown in the chart below.

user forecasts virtual worlds.004Expansion of the 25+ year old group is interesting and driven by three areas.

Firstly simple aging of users (applicable of course to all age bands) but most prevalent between 15-25’s and 25+.

Secondly, the 25+ year old marketplace is currently underserved by virtual worlds. We expect genres such as dating, gaming and gambling to successfully penetrate this age range, as discussed in our Virtual Worlds 2010+ report.

The third facet contributing to growth in the 25+ segment will be B2B/Enterprise platforms as we see a ramp-up in adoption. We foresee services such as the easy creation of photo-realistic avatars being key drivers for adoption in the enterprise space.

Here’s the data table.

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