The NPD Group: Growth in the Number of Mobile Gamers in U.S. and Canada Experiences Slowdown While Revenues Continue to Climb

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Of the 291.8 million mobile users in the two countries, 214.1 million are mobile gamers, a 2 percent increase over 2018; but a decline from the 5 percent growth experienced in 2017

While growth in the player base continues to slow as the device market has become saturated and fewer new users enter the market, games revenue continues a trend of growth

According to Deconstructing Mobile & Tablet Gaming 2020, the latest report from The NPD Group, of the 291.8 million mobile users in the two countries, 214.1 million are mobile gamers, a 2 percent increase over 2018; but a decline from the 5 percent growth experienced in 2017.

While growth in the player base continues to slow as the device market has become saturated and fewer new users enter the market, games revenue continues a trend of growth. Driven in large part by strong performance among key leaders across the mobile gaming genres, revenue topped $11.82 billion in 2019, an increase of 24 percent.

As of 2019, it is estimated that 80 percent of children, teens, and adults own and/or use a smart device, and that approximately 74 percent of owners/users use their device in an average month to play a mobile game.

Mobile gaming remains one of the most common uses for smart devices, with strong engagement across all age groups. Accessibility remains a key feature of mobile gaming appeal, with gamers of all ages appreciating the easy ability to access a plethora of free or inexpensive entertainment that can be played on convenient devices that they probably already have and carry with them, and can be played across a wide range of scenarios, from multitasking at home, to killing time while out, or in focused sessions.

“Mobile gaming continues to be a dynamic and expanding market, offering appealing content to all types of game players,” said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group. “New hit games in 2019, such as Call of Duty: Mobile, and Mario Kart Tour, along with the launch of the Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass subscription services, are just some examples of the breadth and depth of mobile gaming’s rapid evolution and why it remains gaming's largest, and most diverse, platform.”

All mobile gaming genres saw revenue growth in 2019, with 56 percent of revenue being generated by the top three genres: puzzle, skill & chance, and strategy. These genres have maintained their top positions year over year, with each sustained by a single high-performing subgenre: matching puzzle, casino-chance, and combat city builder, respectively.

The report, done in collaboration with mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower, examines the current state of the USA & 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 2019. 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 June 2019.

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 2000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities 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, travel retail, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @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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