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Mobile Gaming Is More Popular Than Console/PC And Had A Huge Year In The US And Canada

A new study reveals just how immensely popular and lucrative the mobile gaming market is in the US and Canada.


The NPD Group has released a new report, detailing just how much growth the video game industry in the US and Canada saw in 2020 for mobile games specifically.

For the year, the NPD said there were 303.7 million people in the US and Canada who count themselves as mobile users, and 238.7 million of them are "active" mobile gamers. This represents a 12% increase over the number of active mobile gamers in 2019.

As with the home console/PC market, there was a strong surge in mobile gaming growth during 2020 due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic that has led people to play more games overall. "Players are more engaged than ever before, with the average number of hours per week spent playing games on a smartphone or tablet increasing to eight hours in 2020 from six hours a week in 2019," the report said.

35% of mobile gamers in the US and Canada suggested that it was the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions that spurred them to player more games on their phones in 2020.

All age groups reported growth in terms of the total number of mobile gamers. The 45 and older bracket jumped by 17% compared to 2019, while the 25-44 age group posted a 13% increase in total users.

"Mobile is the most popular platform in the video game industry, with wide and increasing appeal across all age groups," NPD's Mat Piscatella said. "Its strength comes not only from its accessibility and availability, but also from the incredible diversity in mobile titles available. From evergreen properties such as Candy Crush Saga, Pokemon Go, and Clash of Clans, to newer hits like Call of Duty: Mobile, and Among Us, mobile gaming's growth is certain to continue well into the future."

Every mobile game genre enjoyed a growth in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. The top money-making categories included puzzle, skill & chance, and strategy, which combined to make up 55% of total revenue for mobile games. The "strongest" growth in terms of revenue for mobile games came from the skill & chance, RPG & narrative, puzzle, simulation, and action & fighting categories.

For this report, the NPD worked with Sensor Tower and conducted a survey of 5,000 "active" mobile gamers in the US and Canada who were 2 years in age and older.

The release of this report comes just days after the NPD revealed total US spending on games in 2020 across console and PC. It was a record-breaking year, with $56.9 billion spent on games during 2020, an uptick that was driven in part by COVID-19.

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