Mobile gaming surges as pandemic drives 45% jump in app installs

  • Mobile gaming this year saw a surge in popularity as homebound consumers relied on their smartphones for entertainment during the pandemic. App installs for mobile games surged 45% in 2020, outpacing the 32% growth for the prior year, per the latest “State of Gaming App Marketing” report that app marketing company AppsFlyer emailed to Mobile Marketer.
  • Installs attributed to advertisements for apps, which AppsFlyer describes as “non-organic installs,” jumped 69% this year as game developers ramped up their marketing efforts to stand out in a crowded field. By comparison, organic installs attributed to people discovering apps on their own only grew 33%, a difference indicating that app advertising is an important driver of installs for mobile games.
  • Mobile gaming has had a banner year with the surge in app installs, and the entry of new gamers into the market is likely to have a long-lasting effect on the industry. The 45% gain in installs for mobile games is notable for being higher than last year’s increase, an indication of how the pandemic reinvigorated growth for the industry even as the broader smartphone market shows signs of maturation¬†with falling sales this year.
  • While consumers may not be rushing to buy new smartphones, they are spending more in gaming apps they’ve installed on their existing devices. In-app spending rose 25% from February to May as consumers installed gaming apps and began to spend money on in-game features. Among the different categories of games, casual games saw the highest in-app revenue growth, rising 55% from March to May and maintaining elevated levels since then, according to AppsFlyer’s analysis.

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