Decline in Total Number of Mobile Gamers Had No Impact on Industry Performance as Revenue and Weekly Play Time Experienced Double-Digit Growth
Port Washington, NY, Feb. 22, 2022 – According to The NPD Group’s 2022 Mobile Gaming Report, 63% of Americans and Canadians played mobile games in 2021, totaling 228.7 million active mobile gamers across the two countries. This is a decline of 4% from 2020 but an increase of 6% from 2019.
Although there was a reduction in the total number of gamers year over year, active players were more invested in mobile gaming than ever before, with overall average weekly play time increasing 27%, and players contributing 16% more revenue than in 2020.
COVID-19 drove explosive growth in 2020 as U.S. and Canadian consumers sought more options to entertain themselves at home. The overall reduction in the total number of active gamers in 2021 was primarily driven by those who had previously not been active players reverting to their pre-pandemic habits as well as by those segments where shifts to greater out-of-the-home activity has significantly altered their level of device access.
On the other end of the investment spectrum, those who invested moderately to heavily before and/or during the pandemic have largely maintained or expanded their engagement, compensating for those who may have lapsed and bolstering the continued market growth.
“While there is still growth in the U.S. and Canadian mobile gaming market, it is beginning to normalize in the wake of peak pandemic restrictions. And as restrictions have eased, we’re seeing consumers downloading fewer new titles in favor of focusing their investment more heavily on titles they already are playing,” said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Providing a variety of ways to engage with experiences both in shorter bursts while on-the-go and in longer sessions at home will help consumers maintain their engagement as their daily lifestyles continue to shift in the coming months.”
All but one mobile gaming genre saw revenue growth relative to their 2020 performance, with 54% of revenue being generated by the top three genres: skill & chance, puzzle, and strategy. Sports was the exception, down 4% when compared to 2020.
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.