Industry News

Gaming Spend Up 35%, According to New App Annie Report

by Aimee Kessler Evans on Oct 4, 2021

Despite being home for much of the year, many consumers shifted their digital gaming from the console to their mobile devices. As a result, mobile gaming is on track to surpass $120 billion by the end of 2021. That’s significant news, but there’s a lot more to celebrate in App Annie’s  2021 Mobile Gaming Tear Down. Some quick highlights:

  • In Q3 alone, average weekly consumer spend was up 35% versus pre-pandemic spending. 
  • Weekly game downloads are up 25% since 2019. Downloads surged past the 1 billion mark in March 2020 and haven’t dropped since.
  • Weekly app store spend has surpassed $1.7 billion, up 40% since 2019 across Google Play and iOS. 
  • More than 5 billion hours are spent gaming on Android phones every week. This represents a jump of 35% over the past two years. 
  • In the first half of this year, upwards of 810 games saw more than $1 million in consumer spend per month. That’s more games than ever, and it’s up 25% from 2019 when only 650 games broke through that benchmark. 
Average Weekly Consumer Mobile Gaming Spend Worldwide

Global growth

While mobile game adoption is on the rise globally, India saw the greatest growth in downloads over the last year. The country saw twice as many downloads as the U.S. in the first half of the year — nearly 5 billion in total. App Annie notes that Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia “present a ripe opportunity for local and foreign mobile game publishers and investors.” Tremendous growth is predicted for these regions over the next few years. 

In terms of spend, APAC still accounts for 45% of global market share. However, growth in the region has leveled off as other regions, including the U.S., Germany, and Britain pick up momentum. 

Hyper-casual games account for one-third of gaming downloads

With 6.8 billion downloads, Hyper-casual games saw astronomical growth in the first half of 2021. That’s double the number from 2019, and an increase of more than 5x from 2018. The fastest-growing sub-genres within Hyper-casual gaming were Puzzle, Action, Simulation, and Kids’ games.

The top game publishers in this category released multiple games in H1 2021, and half of these generated over five million downloads. Lion Studios’ Happy Glass, released during this period, earned 100 million downloads in just 62 days. 

Multiplatform represents an important trend

Nearly half of time spent in mobile games globally can be attributed to Core games, including Shooting, Action, RPG, and Strategy genres. Battle Royale games specifically accounted for a full 25% of global gaming minutes.

In terms of monetization, RPGs were the winners. These games rely on a variety of monetization strategies, including advertising, rewarded video, and gacha (essentially, in-game loot boxes). 

However, the bigger story in this genre is the increasing popularity of multi-platform experiences. Games like Genshin Impact — the most downloaded app across all categories on iOS and Android — launched for free on mobile, but it was able to scale quickly and successfully by enabling cross-play features. Players can shift from mobile to console, even within a single gaming session, and they can play against gamers using a different device. 

This is a win for the entire gaming industry, according to App Annie. “The console and mobile experiences are merging; mobile devices are now capable of offering console-like graphics and gameplay experiences along with cross-platform competitive and social gaming features.” The result is increased engagement across all devices — and right now, mobile is reaping the benefits.

Aimee Kessler Evans is a Senior Content Manager at AppLovin.