Mobile gaming growth and industry statistics in 2019

Over the past several years, gaming has transitioned from a niche hobby and pastime to a global phenomenon - thanks to the accessibility of games on mobile devices. After all, everyone has a mobile phone today. In fact, mobile games have become so mainstream that they have even become blockbuster hits at the movie theaters (read: Angry Birds).

With over 2B gamers in the world today, it comes as no surprise that the demographics of gamers are so diverse. While some tend to think that gamers are young to middle aged men sitting in their basement, this notion couldn’t be further from reality. The demographics that make up mobile gamers are sure to surprise you. Let’s take a look.

Mobile gaming market growth: what we can expect in the industry

From 2012 to 2021, the global mobile games market will experience up to 30% growth. In the span of a decade, mobile gaming grew from the smallest gaming segment in 2012, and is projected to become a $100B industry by 2021.

In 2019, the global games market - made up of 2.3B gamers - is set to reach almost $150B in total revenue, with mobile games taking the lion's share, generating $70.3B or 51% of the global market. Stats like these prove that the mobile gaming ecosystem will continue to experience tremendous growth.

What’s contributing to this growth? Well, there are many factors. One  is the rise of the hyper-casual genre. According to research done by the BI team at ironSource, this genre has brought in approximately 101M new gamers into the market. Hyper-casual games essentially create a “nurturing” effect on gamers, warming them up for IAP based titles.

With over 2B gamers in the world today, it comes as no surprise that the demographics of gamers are so diverse.

We can also expect that IP titles, such as the upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game, will encourage millions non-gaming fans of the respective franchise to enter the market.

Additionally, lower latency and higher speeds due to 5G will make it easier to download, play, and stream games wherever gamers may be. This will likely result in mobile gamers playing more often and for longer, as there won’t be issues with their mobile network.

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Understanding the market: mobile gaming demographics

Growth in the mobile games market is resulting in new, emerging classes of gamers. Today, stats show that mobile games are becoming increasingly popular among women and that older demographics are playing far more frequently than their teenage counterparts.

In 2019, the number of mobile gamers worldwide hit 2.2B. That’s nearly 30% of the global population. In the US alone, there are 203M mobile gamers.

What about a breakdown by age?

  • Age 13-17: 8%
  • Age 18-24: 14%
  • Age 25-34: 21%
  • Age 34-44: 19%
  • Age 45-54: 15%
  • Age 55+: 23%

Almost 60% of gamers are aged 34 or older. These numbers are indicative of a changing demographic landscape.  

And breakdown by gender? 63% of mobile gamers are female, compared to 37% that are male.

Mobile gaming statistics that may surprise you

1. Half of mobile app users report that they’ve opened a game app in the last week - making gaming apps the third-most popular app type (tied with music). In the US, users spend on average 23 minutes a day playing mobile games, equating to 1.3 years a lifetime.

2. One stereotype about gamers is that they hold little purchasing power, however, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. 66% of mobile gamers have influence on the purchasing decision of their friends, family, and colleagues. And interestingly enough, they are almost 25% more likely than non-gamers to have this influence. This is especially interesting for brands that generally prefer to advertise in-app as opposed to in-game. The growing purchasing power of gamers proves that brand budgets should make their way in-game.

3. Users are constantly on the lookout for low-commitment entertaining to be enjoyed in short bursts of time in or between carrying out other tasks. Almost 80% of adults surveyed play mobile games at home or while multitasking, and over 50% of them play them in the bathroom.

Wrapping up

With each passing day, millions of people download mobile games, as it becomes more mainstream due to the emergence of genres like hyper-casual, and with the advent of 5G capabilities that provide lower latency and faster speeds to mobile gamers. We can expect this exponential growth to continue over the coming year and beyond.

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