It almost goes without saying, but we’ve come a long way since the days of playing ‘Snake’ on our Nokia phones. While mobile games still suffer some limitations in comparison to console and PC games, they are substantially more sophisticated than the games of the past, with better graphics and performance than many past consoles and even arcade machines.

group of people playing mobile games in a circle with screens displayed

Nowadays people download highly sophisticated games from the app stores, and although most are cheap to buy, often free, publishers make a considerable amount of revenue from in-app purchases. But just how big is the mobile gaming industry? We have assembled a selection of 15 recent mobile gaming statistics that every marketing manager should know.

1. Gaming Expected to be Worth More than $174 billion by 2021.

Newzoo, the leading provider of market intelligence covering global games, released their gaming revenue predictions through to 2021 (which were revised in October 2018). They expect that by 2021, the total gaming market will be worth $174 billion.

As it pertains to mobile gaming specifically, they expect the sector to continue it’s growth as well, reaching $91.2 billion in 2021.

2. Gaming is the Third Most Popular App Category

A report from Betting on Billions found that gaming was the third most popular app type, ranked together with music. Gaming is so popular, that half of all mobile app users have opened a gaming app in the past week. The most popular kind of app is social media, with shopping apps a fairly distant second.

Gaming is also the second most popular type of app for 18 to 20-year-olds, with over two-thirds of the demographic having played a game in the last seven days.

3. 2.4 Billion People Globally Expected to Play Mobile Games in 2019

Another recent report from Activision’s Betting on Billions report predicts that 2.4 billion people around the world will play a mobile game in 2019.

4. 25% of Game Spending is in China

Newzoo also predicted that total game spending in China in 2018 would hit $34.4 billion, accounting for over 25% of worldwide spending. In comparison, the US spent $31.5 billion.

5. 73% of 2018 App Revenue Expected to Have Come from Gaming

According to Newzoo’s revised predictions, the $63.2 billion in revenue generated from gaming apps in 2018 will have accounted for 76% of all app revenues.

6. Apps Account for 90% of the Time Spent on Smartphones

eMarketer’s Mobile Spent 2018 report found that apps account for over 90% of internet time on smartphones and over 77% of internet time on tablets. However, the time spent on the apps is far from equal. Nearly half of app time occurs in an individual’s most used app, and 90% in their top five. For many people, this includes games.

7. Males and Females Play Different Types of Games

While reports show that as many females play mobile games as males, the differences in the types of game they play are quite significant. Likely to the surprise of no one, young males typically prefer shooter games. Older females prefer puzzle games.

63% of those who play action/adventure games are males (with 52% between the ages of 21-35). This trend is even more prominent with shooters – with 74% men and 54% between the ages of 21-25. When it comes to puzzle games, males account for only 34%.

8. Over 50% of Mobile Gamers are Women

The Betting on Billions report referenced throughout this article shows that unlike console or PC gaming, there are very little noticeable differences between the genders when it comes to the overall numbers participating in mobile gaming. 51% of all mobile gamers are women and 49% men.

9. Candy Crush is Still the Most Popular Mobile Game Overall

Candy Crush Saga has been around for years now and was arguably the first truly ‘viral’ mobile game. But just because it’s no longer the talk of the internet doesn’t mean it isn’t still wildly popular. Betting on Billions found that 35% of mobile gamers still play Candy Crush. The game is still particularly popular in France, with 41% of mobile gamers still playing it daily.

10. The Average US Consumer Spent $77.60 on Mobile Games in 2016

According to Statista data, the average American spent $77.60 on mobile games in 2016, up from $70.44 in 2015 and $60.95 in 2014.

11. 6-10pm is the Most Common Time to Play Apps

More people play their games (and shop) on mobile apps in the evening than at other times. 18 to 20-year-olds begin their daily game-playing even earlier, with over 30% opening gaming apps in the afternoon.

12. Mobile Phone Gamers in the USA is Increasing Steadily Each Year and Should Exceed 210 Million in 2020.

Statista also released data on the number of mobile phone gamers in the United States from 2011 to 2020 (predictions from 2016 onwards). There were 80.7 million US mobile gamers in 2011, rising each year after that. It reached 164.9 million in 2015. Statista predicts that there will be 209.5 million US mobile gamers in 2019, increasing to 213 million in 2020.

13. Mobile Gaming Industry accounts for Almost 50% of the Global Games Market

According to revised Newzoo research, the global gaming market was predicted to be worth $134.9 billion in 2018. Mobile gaming was the largest sector and was estimated to be worth $63.2 billion, accounting for 47% of the global games market.

14. Pokémon GO Was The Top Grossing iPhone App in 2018

Statista shows the top-grossing iPhone mobile gaming apps in the United States as of December 2018 to be Pokémon GO (earning $1,442,297 daily), followed by Fortnite in second place ($1,399,028) and Candy Crush Saga rounding out the top 3 ($1,106,098).

15. 66% of Mobile Gamers Have Influence on Those Around Them

Data collected for The Betting on Billions report showed that mobile gamers have more influence on the purchasing decisions of their friends, family, and colleagues than non-gamers do. It found that 66% of gamers (vs. 53% of non-gamers) influenced the purchasing decisions of their family, 43% (gamers) vs. 35% (non-gamers) influenced their friends, and 37% gamers (vs. 29% non-gamers) influenced their colleagues. If you are looking for any more proof as to why you need a brand ambassador program, look no further.

The top areas of influence family purchasing decisions were groceries, dining out, and entertainment subscriptions. Though not partnering with brands (necessarily), this is another prime example of the benefits of influencer marketing. 


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