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Who is the American Mobile Gamer?

Posted Sep 15, 2020

As the gaming industry continues to grow and evolve rapidly, the same can be said about mobile gaming demographics. The evolution of the American mobile gamer is the product of the widespread adoption of smartphones and the increasing time spent on these devices. Mobile gaming is no longer a niche market but one that contains a variety of segments. By understanding the unique needs and interests of each demographic group, advertisers could target them and share their messaging at scale.

In AdColony & DISQO’s The Modern Mobile Gamer report, 78% of respondents said they played mobile games to varying degrees of frequency. While the numbers of mobile gamers continue to increase, many advertisers still hold on to outdated misconceptions about who these players are. After sifting through data for several demographics, the answer to the question “Who is the American mobile gamer?” is actually a simple one. The American mobile gamer is everyone. Our research shows that the modern American mobile gaming audience spans demographics across the board.

Half of U.S. Consumers Play Once or Several Times a Day
While the majority of American adults are playing mobile games, they are not playing at the same level of frequency. Survey data revealed that half of American consumers are what we consider Committed Gamers, those who play at least once a day or several times a day. Unsurprisingly, more than half of respondents aged 18-34 said they play mobile games daily. What might be surprising to some advertisers is that an average of 53% of consumers between 35 and 54 years old are Committed Gamers.

Equal Distribution Between Males and Females
Research has shown time and time again that the skyrocketing popularity of mobile gaming is hardly limited to one gender. The shares of female versus male mobile gamers differ by only a fraction (78.0% versus 78.7% of respondents, respectively). When looking at play frequency, males who play mobile games barely edged out females. Despite the longstanding stereotypes, 48.8% of female respondents indicated they were Committed Gamers, not far off from the 49.1% of males who indicated the same.

Gaming at all Education and Income Levels
Many assumptions are typically made based on consumers’ background, so we looked at how often mobile gamers play in comparison to their completed education levels and household incomes. Respondents who haven’t finished high school have the highest overall share of Committed Gamers (61%), while on the other end of the measured education spectrum, approximately 51% of consumers that have master’s degrees play mobile games once to several times a day. With results all over the map, the most solid conclusion is that education level isn’t really a factor. Gamers are most likely playing mobile games and most likely playing them every day.

The study asked respondents to share a range of household income to understand how consumers in various income brackets fit into the mobile gaming audience. Respondents who make more than $250,000 represent the biggest share of mobile gamers with 82% of that group stating they play at least once a month. Additionally, 65% of this group are playing at least once a day.

Locations and Languages of Mobile Gamers 
The diversity of mobile gamers mirrors the diversity of the Americans themselves. Mobile gaming’s popularity is not just limited to a specific region or language. The West may have the highest share of Committed Gamers but the Midwest, South, and Northeast regions are not too far behind with at least 46% of the residents playing at least once a day. 

According to this study, a larger percentage of Spanish speakers (81%) play mobile games over non-Spanish speakers (78%).

Furthermore, Spanish speakers are 47% more likely to be Regular Gamers who play at least once a week in comparison to non-Spanish speakers. Both developers and brands who advertise in games should take this data into consideration when making plans to localize their in-game content.

Want to learn more about the American mobile gamer? The Modern Mobile Gamer Report has more on mobile gaming demographics as well as data on the most popular game genres, how players are multitasking, and much more!

About the Study
The survey was developed by AdColony and DISQO and distributed online to a nationally representative sample of DISQO Audience members within the United States via the Survey Junkie platform, which is wholly owned by DISQO. The survey was taken on both desktop and mobile devices, garnering a total of 1,208 responses over a fourteen-day period in Q2 of 2020. As each respondent was a member of DISQO’s 100% first-party opt-in research audience, responses were verified against fraud and were compiled against known and validated demographic information, enabling a rich, cohorted analysis by age, gender, education level, household income, and more. 

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