Mobile game spend up almost 30% compared to pre-pandemic levels

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Mobile game spending levels have grown 29% and with $1.63bn spent and 1.2bn titles downloaded per-week according to Data.ai.

The company has released spending and download figures in their recent coverage of the global mobile ecosystem and game market in particular. According to their data, Q1 2023 is set for record levels of spending by mobile users, with the suggestion this represents a market-correction of sorts and post-Covid normalisation. Worldwide app consumer spend is projected to reach $33.9bn in Q1 2023, which would be a record year for the industry. And Q1 2023 would be the second highest quarter for downloads on record, second only to Q3 2022.

Meanwhile for consumer spend, the top-performers for Google Play were the US, South Korea and Japan, for iOS spending this was the US, China and Japan. iOS only grew 4% year-on-year, but Google Play saw a slightly higher rate of growth at 6%. However, they note that iOS users continue to spend more and at a higher-rate than Google Play Users. It’s also noted that spending is well above Q1 2020 but isn’t yet hitting as high as peak pandemic spending.

In gaming terms, Data.ai also points out that the gaming charts have begun to show a trend of stability in the upper tiers and change in the lower tiers. The top two titles have been Subway Surfers and Garena Free Fire for two consecutive quarters, while lower down the charts there has been significant movement and new entrants consistently. Naturally they also note that Roblox was #1 for monthly active users, however interestingly enough the leader in consumer spend was Tencent’s Honor of Kings – a figure that could be even higher in future after it’s recent release in Brazil.

The road to recovery and beyond

So what does this mean for mobile? It may not be a sudden surge but, as Data.ai points out, a market-correction. While the pandemic saw users staying home and spending money at record levels, when they began going back to work or other leisure activities as restrictions eased this spending dropped significantly. The “[ost-Covid slump”, has already been a subject of much coverage. What we’re seeing here is most likely the mobile market and gaming in particular returning to the overall trend of growth it was seeing even pre-pandemic.

This new data will certainly be good news for developers and publishers in mobile gaming, as the post-Covid slump represented a number of challenges to companies which had expanded quickly after the glut. Now, as the market corrects itself, those companies which were buckling down or making layoffs, such as Playtika, will be more confident in resuming growth during 2023.

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