US Mobile Gaming Market Report 2020
“Mobile gaming is a great entry point for brands looking to reach the gaming community. The mobile gaming world brings in all types of players, from the casual tourists to…

US Mobile Gaming Market Report 2020

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

“Mobile gaming is a great entry point for brands looking to reach the gaming community. The mobile gaming world brings in all types of players, from the casual tourists to highly invested, dedicated players. The audience for mobile gaming will continue to grow as COVID-19 accelerates gaming’s adoption into mainstream entertainment. Widespread mobile gaming will drive in-game spending and category innovation for the foreseeable future.”

–   John Poelking, Senior Gaming Analyst

This report examines the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the mobile gaming market
  • How free mobile games can still drive in-game spending
  • Why advertising within mobile games can be advantageous for brands
  • How new service offerings will shift mobile gamers’ expectations for gameplay

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Global mobile gaming revenue, 2018-20
                • Impact of COVID-19 on mobile gaming
                  • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on gaming and mobile gaming, September 2020
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • COVID-19 has deepened consumers’ relationships with mobile games
                    • Figure 3: Attitudes toward mobile gaming since COVID-19, August 2020
                  • Preparing early adopters for cross-platform gameplay
                    • Figure 4: 5G adoption and consideration, all vs mobile gamers, August 2020
                  • Casual games reach the most players but don’t require much engagement
                    • Figure 5: Mobile gaming genres played, August 2020
                  • Freemium model brings big spenders
                    • Figure 6: Reasons to spend money in games and amount spent on mobile games in a typical month, August 2020
                  • Mobile ads work when players are rewarded
                    • Figure 7: Watching mobile ads for rewards, August 2020
                • The Market – Key Takeaways

                  • Mobile revenue won’t be slowed by COVID-19
                    • Smartphones drive mobile gaming
                      • Tech advancements impact mobile gaming market
                        • Partnerships extend the reach of mobile gaming
                        • Global Mobile Gaming Market Size

                            • COVID-19 can’t stop significant growth in global mobile gaming
                              • Figure 8: Global mobile gaming revenue, 2018-20
                            • US implications for mobile gaming
                              • Figure 9: Key drivers affecting growth of the mobile gaming market, 2019-25 (prepared in September 2020)
                            • Impact of COVID-19 on mobile gaming
                              • Lockdown
                                • Re-emergence
                                  • Recovery
                                    • Figure 10: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on gaming and mobile gaming, September 2020
                                  • COVID-19: US context
                                    • Learnings from the last recession
                                      • Leisure and entertainment spending held strong
                                        • Figure 11: Consumer spending on leisure and entertainment, by market segments, at current prices, 2000-25
                                      • Smartphones proved to be a positive alternative to feature phones
                                        • Figure 12: Annual % change in US mobile phone sales – Smartphones and feature phones, 2008-11
                                    • Global Mobile Gaming Segment Performance

                                      • Smartphone gaming drives the majority of mobile gaming revenue
                                        • Figure 13: Global mobile gaming revenue, by segment, 2020
                                      • In-game spending driven by strategy and action games
                                        • Figure 14: Top mobile games, by worldwide revenue, July 2020
                                    • Market Factors

                                      • COVID-19 has increased time spent on mobile gaming
                                        • Figure 15: Attitudes toward mobile gaming since COVID-19, August 2020
                                      • Mobile gamers will be among the first to adopt 5G
                                        • Figure 16: 5G adoption and consideration, all vs mobile gamers, August 2020
                                      • Unlimited data is standard for most gamers
                                        • Figure 17: Mobile data plans of mobile gamers, August 2020
                                      • Apple’s push for gaming leads to legal struggles with gaming giants
                                      • Market Opportunities

                                        • Partner with mobile game developers
                                          • Figure 18: @tennisclash Gucci Instagram post, May 2020
                                        • Work with mobile gaming hardware to appeal to hardcore gamers
                                          • Gaming phones
                                            • Gaming accessories
                                              • Figure 19: @razer Kishi Instagram post, August 2020
                                            • Make mobile games for women, by women
                                              • Grow mobile gaming through mainstream entertainment
                                                • Leverage nostalgia in the mobile age
                                                  • Gamify traditional sports offerings
                                                    • Capitalize on retail holidays
                                                    • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                      • Apple takes a bite out of competition
                                                        • Expanding the possibilities of mobile gaming
                                                        • Market Share

                                                          • Apple is the primary destination for smartphone gaming, while Samsung dominates Android market
                                                            • Figure 20: Brand of smartphones used for gaming, August 2020
                                                          • Tablet market share has stiffer competition for Androids
                                                            • Figure 21: Brand of tablet used for gaming, August 2020
                                                        • Competitive Strategies

                                                          • Doubling down on competitive mobile games
                                                            • Cloud gaming should open up cross-functional gameplay
                                                              • Subscription gaming finds a way to work
                                                                • Investments flowing into mobile gaming
                                                                  • Utilizing 5G for mobile-focused events
                                                                  • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                    • Mobile gaming drives US gaming audience growth
                                                                      • Casual games bring in the largest crowd
                                                                        • Free to play doesn’t mean money can’t be made
                                                                          • Console and computer gamers appreciate versatility of mobile
                                                                            • Non-gaming brands can look between levels to reach gamers
                                                                              • It’s important to balance casual and dedicated mobile gaming interests
                                                                                • Segmentation highlights unique opportunities among mobile gamers
                                                                                • Who Plays Mobile Games?

                                                                                  • Share of adults who play video games is growing
                                                                                    • Figure 22: Share of US adults who play video games, any device vs mobile devices, 2018-20
                                                                                  • Mobile attracts the largest audience
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Gaming devices used, August 2020
                                                                                  • Mobile gaming closes gaps in key demographics
                                                                                    • Figure 24: Profile of mobile gamers, by key demographics, August 2020
                                                                                  • Gamers don’t only play on mobile devices
                                                                                    • Figure 25: Mobile gamers – Exclusives vs non-exclusives, August 2020
                                                                                  • Gaming is a daily habit
                                                                                    • Figure 26: Mobile gamers’ frequency of gaming, August 2020
                                                                                  • Casual gaming is common
                                                                                    • Figure 27: Mobile gamers’ reasons to play video games, August 2020
                                                                                • Mobile Gaming Genres Played

                                                                                  • Most players want games to pick up and put down easily
                                                                                    • Figure 28: Mobile gaming genres played, August 2020
                                                                                  • In their words: the appeal of casual games
                                                                                    • Casual game preferences differ by gender
                                                                                      • Figure 29: Mobile gaming genres played – Select items, by gender, August 2020
                                                                                    • Younger mobile players get more adventurous
                                                                                      • Figure 30: Mobile gaming genres played – Select items, by age, August 2020
                                                                                  • Mobile Gaming Purchases

                                                                                    • Free games dominate, but many players still make mobile purchases
                                                                                      • Figure 31: Mobile gaming purchases, August 2020
                                                                                    • Android gamers drive purchases
                                                                                      • Figure 32: Mobile gaming purchases, by brand of mobile device, August 2020
                                                                                    • Big spending among mobile payers
                                                                                      • Figure 33: Amount spent on mobile games in a typical month, August 2020
                                                                                    • Spending money to build up abilities
                                                                                      • Figure 34: Types of in-game mobile purchases, August 2020
                                                                                    • In their words: spending within games
                                                                                    • Mobile vs Consoles and Computers

                                                                                      • Console/computer gamers see mobile gaming as equal
                                                                                        • Figure 35: Attitudes toward mobile vs console and computer gaming, by mobile gamer segments, August 2020
                                                                                      • Convenience gives mobile gaming the greatest appeal
                                                                                        • Figure 36: How mobile gaming is better than console/computer, August 2020
                                                                                      • Games will lead mobile gamers to consoles/computers
                                                                                        • Figure 37: Factors to bring mobile gamers to consoles/computers, August 2020
                                                                                      • In their words: differences between mobile and console/computer gamers
                                                                                      • Advertising in Mobile Games

                                                                                        • Rewards bring mobile gamers to pay attention to ads
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Watching mobile ads for rewards, August 2020
                                                                                        • Mobile ads get players’ attention
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Effectiveness of mobile gaming advertisements, August 2020
                                                                                      • Attitudes toward Mobile Gaming

                                                                                        • The appeal of mobile gaming is far reaching
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Attitudes toward the appeal of mobile gaming, August 2020
                                                                                        • Mobile gamers are homebound and attentive
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Attitudes toward mobile gaming routines, August 2020
                                                                                        • Players want to be the best while staying relaxed
                                                                                          • Figure 42: Attitudes toward relaxation and skill in mobile gaming, August 2020
                                                                                        • It doesn’t take money to make a mobile game good
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Attitudes toward mobile gaming payments and data usage, August 2020
                                                                                      • Mobile Gamer Consumer Segments

                                                                                          • Factors
                                                                                              • Figure 44: Mobile gamer segmentation, August 2020
                                                                                            • Mobile Investors (30%)
                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                  • Opportunities
                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Profile of Mobile Investors, August 2020
                                                                                                  • Mobile Meditators (25%)
                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                        • Opportunities
                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Profile of Mobile Meditators, August 2020
                                                                                                        • Mobile Tourists (24%)
                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                              • Opportunities
                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Profile of Mobile Tourists, August 2020
                                                                                                              • Mobile Influencers (21%)
                                                                                                                • Demographics
                                                                                                                  • Characteristics
                                                                                                                    • Opportunities
                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Profile of Mobile Influencers, August 2020
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                                                                      • Sales data
                                                                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                • Terms
                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Mintel Trend Drivers

                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Mintel Trend Drivers and Pillars

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