Half of US adults play mobile games daily

The AdColony team reveals the results of their latest study, that shows the massive engagement US adults have with mobile games. 

It’s no secret that mobile gaming as a market has been burgeoning over recent years. Prior to this year’s COVID-19 prompted boom, games were far and away the most popular mobile app category in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by share of available apps. Because the vast majority of gaming apps are free-to-play, anyone with access to a smartphone has the chance to become a committed mobile gamer. With the availability of games that appeal to broader audiences, people are spending more and more time and money on mobile gaming.

So who are mobile gamers, exactly? It’s a question that has been incessantly asked not just in the gaming industry, but also among advertisers looking to reach consumers in this channel. To get a definitive answer, AdColony partnered with consumer insights platform DISQO to survey 1,200 verified mobile users about their mobile gaming behaviors, preferences, and sentiments. The Modern Mobile Gamer report  gives insights into who plays mobile games and if they self-identify as gamers.

While the majority of American adults are playing mobile games, they are not playing at the same level of frequency. Survey data revealed that half of American consumers are what we consider Committed Gamers, those who play at least once a day or several times a day. Unsurprisingly, more than half of respondents aged 18-34 said they play mobile games daily. What might be surprising to some advertisers is that an average of 53 per cent of consumers between 35 and 54 years old are Committed Gamers who play daily as well.

Research has shown time and time again that the skyrocketing popularity of mobile gaming is hardly limited to one gender and this data shows no difference. The shares of female versus male mobile gamers differ by only a fraction (78 per cent versus 78.7 per cent of respondents, respectively). When looking at play frequency, males who play mobile games barely edged out females. Despite the longstanding stereotypes, 48.8 per cent of female respondents indicated they were Committed Gamers, not far off from the 49.1 per cent of males who indicated the same.

The study also asked respondents to share a range of household income to understand how consumers in various income brackets fit into the mobile gaming audience. Respondents who make more than $250,000 represent the biggest share of mobile gamers, with 82 per cent of that group stating they play at least once a month. Additionally, 65 per cent of this group are playing at least once a day.

While a significant share of Americans are playing mobile games daily, not all of them are self-identifying as “gamers.” Those born between 1986 and 1995 (mid and younger millennials) are far more likely to self-identify as gamers, 22.5 per cent more likely than their Gen Z counterparts, and 63.4 per cent more likely than older millennials and Gen X. Gen X and millennials were the first generations to grow up with game consoles and PCs in their homes, and it was a frequent pastime. They view gaming as a normal hobby, evidenced by their propensity to identify as gamers. Advertisers that still look at mobile games as a niche space should know that while a consumer does not call themselves a gamer, they could still be active and engaged on that platform.

Download the full Modern Mobile Gamer report here.