Mobile gaming is big business, accounted for 33 percent of app installs and 74 percent of spending in 2018

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Games, Mobile Gaming


Although mobile gaming is often derided by PC and console gamers, there’s no denying the industry’s widespread appeal. Games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and others are not only convenient — it’s easy to pop in for a few minutes at a time — but they also tend to be either cheap or completely free-to-play.

Thanks to a report from App Annie, we can now more easily quantify the industry’s growth. According to the report, in the mobile app market, games account for a whopping 10 percent of the total time users spend in apps. That may not seem like much at first, but when you consider the fact that time-hogs like Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix are included, 10 percent is a pretty big number.

Regarding download figures, mobile games accounted for 33 percent of all downloaded apps in 2018 (that number is expected to increase to 60 percent in 2019). Furthermore, an astounding 74 percent of all consumer spending on mobile app stores came through video games.

Breaking that down further, only about 5 percent of that revenue came from outright buying apps — the other 95 percent was from in-app purchases, proving the success of free-to-play business models like randomized loot boxes, paid XP boosts, and more.

The amount of time the average person spends in a mobile game is increasing more, as well. In 2018, the total number of hours spent playing mobile games increased from around 100 billion to roughly 130 billion.

It’s also worth looking at the age ranges of people who play mobile games. In 2018, the vast majority of mobile gamers were over 25 years old throughout most of the world — China is the only exception, where the distribution of gamers aged 16-24 and those over 25 was roughly 50/50.

It’s tough to say whether or not mobile gaming will continue to grow in the coming years as platforms like Stadia gain traction, but we’ll certainly be keeping our eye on the industry over time.