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Mobile Gaming App Installs Grow by 45% Globally in 2020

A new report from AppsFlyer shows the demand for mobile gaming apps soared and the growth persists. Learn about trends in the global and regional markets for mobile games.

November 23, 2020

New data from mobile app analytics company AppsFlyer reveals an overwhelming 45% growth in mobile gaming app installs in 2020 compared to 2019. The largest part of the rise came from non-organic downloads that soared 69% from last year. Growth in organic downloads accelerated by 57% and reached the rate of 33% year-over-year.

These figures along with what's behind them and other important market insights were shared in AppsFlyer's November report showing the state of the global mobile gaming app industry in 2020.

Within the major growth in demand for mobile games overall, AppsFlyer's analysts discovered a fantastic 250% surge in non-organic installs of hyper-casual games, lightweighted apps with simple mechanics. Total installs in the same genre increased by 90% compared to last year.

As far as mobile game monetization is concerned, the global market is reported to have seen a 25% growth in in-app purchase (IAP) revenue figures. It was largely driven by casual games that jumped more than 50% during the entire spring time and managed to stay at high levels during the next months, still exceeding those registered before the pandemic. It may also be interesting to note here that in games with a hybrid model of monetization, i.e. gaming apps earning money through both IAP and advertisements, IAP revenue increased by 67% from February through August, while in-app ad revenue among the same apps declined by 16% during the same timeframe.

App marketers should pay special attention to the fact that remarketing proved to be one of the best drivers of revenue in mobile games. In particular, there was a 95% growth in the average revenue per paying users (ARPPU) generated by campaigns of remarketing across all categories of gaming apps on average, including new record highs for the ARPPU growth in hardcore games and social casinos — 160% and 130% respectively. AppFlyer stresses that remarketing is a great option that many developers are likely to overlook. Generally, it is more affordable than conventional user acquisition, and there are known ways to measure it effectively.

The largest part of the new mobile gaming app market report from AppsFlyer is dedicated to regional analytics and performance benchmarks, in interactive charts. Below are some of the key findings — on how cost-per-install (CPI), revenue from in-game purchases and advertising, and the share of paying users changed.

United States

  • CPI grew by 35% in May-September. Social casinos' CPI grew by 60% in March-August.
  • IAP revenue on iOS increased by 27% through August. IAP on Android decreased by 11%.
  • Ad revenue dropped by 30% through August.
  • The share of paying players grew by 25%.

Asia-Pacific

  • CPI grew by 45% since March. CPI in hardcore games on iOS in Japan grew by 55% and exceeded $14.
  • IAP revenue on iOS and Android increased by 35% in February-May. Then iOS decreased by 4% and Android by 15%.
  • Ad revenue went up by 18% (47% casual and 40% hyper casual).
  • The share of paying players grew by 9% (40% casual).

Europe and Middle East

  • CPI on Android grew by 38% in post-lockdown.
  • IAP revenue on iOS increased by 18% during lockdown and then decreased by 32% (mainly due to a sharp decline in Russia). +6% and -14% on Android respectively.
  • Ad revenue dropped by 22% through August.
  • The share of paying players on iOS grew by 22%. +52% in casual games across both iOS and Android.

Latin America

  • CPI grew by 30% since May.
  • IAP revenue on iOS and Android increased by 38% in February-May (2.5x growth in midcore since February).
  • Ad revenue doubled since April (2x and 3x growth in casual and hyper casual, respectively).
  • The share of paying players in casual gaming apps grew by 45%, but it did not significantly change overall.

Check out the report for more details, including data and analytics on user acquisition, retention, fraud, and other trends across the following mobile gaming app markets: Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Colombia, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam. Don't miss out on the key takeaways for app marketers — you'll find them in the final section.