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Mobile Monday: Consumers Spent $143 billion on Mobile, Gaming to Surpass $120 billion in 2021

Posted Jan 17, 2021

After a banner year in 2020, what’s next for mobile? COVID-19 forced people to stay at home for most of the year leading to a surge in mobile usage. The latest research from App Annie reveals the huge demand for mobile apps, driven predominately by gaming. Their report said that consumers spent $143 billion on their mobile devices. The report also states that mobile gaming is expected to exceed  $120 billion this year. For more of App Annie’s mobile trends, read on for this week’s Mobile Monday!

Mobile Adoption Advances 2-3 Years in 12 Months

App Annie’s latest report, The State of Mobile 2021, features market trends, industry insights, best practices and top charts spanning 11 industries and 30 markets. According to their analysis, mobile adoption boomed in 2020 and advanced two to three years in a 12-month period. Smartphones have been at the forefront of digital usage for years but app habits have not yet fully formed. Users are still seeking new apps and games to try as downloads are up 7% year-over-year totaling 218 billion downloads. Revenue saw an even higher increase with consumers spending $143 billion on mobile at 20% growth YoY.  

The new data shows that people spent more time on their mobile devices than watching live TV. In the United States, average viewers spent 3.7 hours watching live tv a day but spent 4 hours on mobile. The weighted average among countries analyzed for time spent surpassed 4 hours 10 minutes during the pandemic — up 20% from 2019. According to the report, the increase in mobile usage came from multiple age groups. In the U.S., Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X/ Baby Boomers spent 16%, 18% and 30% more time year-over-year, respectively, in their favorite apps. It’s clear that mobile is the best channel for reach and engagement for brands. Additionally, app publishers need to optimize their user acquisition strategies to take advantage of users growing interest in new apps. 

Mobile Gaming Revenue Expected to Jump 20% 

App Annie’s report also emphasized gaming apps’ contribution to mobile’s surge. Mobile game revenue is expected to surpass $120 billion which is a 20% increase. In 2019, mobile game revenue had earned approximately $68.5 billion. Mobile continues to be the most popular form of gaming and is on track to capture 1.5x of the market compared to all other gaming platforms combined. While it’s no surprise that consumers are turning to their smartphones more than ever because of the pandemic, mobile gaming’s year-on-year increase is astounding considering the already massive size of the industry.

Casual games dominate downloads with a 78 share due to the popularity of easy-to-use names like Among Us, ROBLOX, and My Talking Tom Friends. Core games have the second-highest share at 20% and Casino holds 2%. While core games are behind in terms of downloads, this type makes 66% of revenue and 55% of time spent on mobile games. Furthermore, the growth in hours spent playing mobile games is being driven predominately by casual gamers. Gamers in the APAC region drive a significant portion of spend and time spent among core games. Countries in the West are more drawn to console and PC-gone-mobile titles.

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