The NPD Group: 65% of Americans and Canadians Play Mobile Games

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Mobile gaming has seen significant growth in terms of overall participation and engagement across all demographic groups

Mobile is the most popular platform in the video game industry, with wide and increasing appeal across all age groups

According to Deconstructing Mobile & Tablet Gaming, the latest report from The NPD Group, of the 303.7 million mobile users in the U.S. and Canada in 2020, 238.7 million are active mobile gamers, a 12% increase over 2019.

The U.S. and Canadian mobile gaming market saw significant growth in 2020, with mobile’s accessibility as a platform creating a go-to option for consumers looking for new or expanded entertainment options while under COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Players are more engaged than ever before, with the average number of hours per week spent playing games on a smartphone or tablet increasing to eight hours in 2020 from six hours a week in 2019.

The number of mobile gamers increased across all age groups, with those ages 45 and older climbing 17% over 2019, followed by the 25 to 44 age group with a 13% increase. The 2 to 12 and 13 to 24 age groups experienced respective increases of 9% and 3% over 2019.

Thirty-five percent of mobile gamers in the U.S. and Canada indicated that COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions have led them to increase their frequency of engagement, leading to a 12% increase in the number of consumers qualifying as active players.

"Mobile is the most popular platform in the video game industry, with wide and increasing appeal across all age groups,” said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Its strength comes not only from its accessibility and availability, but also from the incredible diversity in mobile titles available. From evergreen properties such as Candy Crush Saga, Pokémon Go, and Clash of Clans, to newer hits like Call of Duty: Mobile, and Among Us, mobile gaming's growth is certain to continue well into the future."

All mobile gaming genres saw revenue growth in 2020, with 55% of revenue being generated by the top three genres: puzzle, skill & chance, and strategy. All genres saw growth in their revenue performance, with the strongest growth coming from skill & chance, RPG & narrative, puzzle, simulation, and action & fighting.

The report, done in collaboration with mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower, examines the current state of the USA and Canadian mobile gaming market, including the gaming habits of current players ages 2 and older, and market performance trends.

Methodology
Consumer data in this report comes from a survey of 5,000 active U.S. and Canada mobile gamers (ages 2+) conducted in October 2020. Participants in this survey were recruited from two representative pools: adults - respondents ages 18 were recruited for participation directly and completed the survey based on their own habits; and children/teens (ages 2-17) were recruited via parent surrogates with instructions to have the child/teen complete the survey themselves to the extent that they were able.

Respondents qualified as active mobile gamers for the purpose of this study if they owned/had access to a qualifying device and had used the device to play a game within 30 days of the survey.

Data on mobile gaming in the context of broader entertainment activities comes from NPD’s Evolution of Entertainment Study, which included 5 000 U S consumers (ages 2+) and was conducted in May 2020.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup @npdgames

About Sensor Tower
Sensor Tower is the leading, trusted source of enterprise-grade market intelligence and performance metrics in the mobile app ecosystem. Founded in 2013, Sensor Tower’s innovative mobile performance, trend insights, and ad network products offer enterprise-level data on the global mobile app economy. From mobile-first startups to blue-chip companies and financial institutions, Sensor Tower provides quality insights and leading customer support at every step of the mobile journey.

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