Mobile app analytics firm Data.ai expects mobile game spending to rebound to $111.4 billion globally in 2024. This is the first time the firm expects growth after two years of declining consumer spending.
Since Data.ai began collecting data in 2015, mobile game spending saw uninterrupted growth until peaking at $115.8 billion in 2021. Over the last two years, spending totals waned about 3.7% per year to 2023’s $107.5 billion expected total.
“The decline was partially a correction from the rapid growth seen at the start of the pandemic. As consumer behavior has started to return to a ‘new normal’ we expect mobile game behavior to be more similar to pre-pandemic trends,” said Lexi Sydow, head of insights at Data.ai. “The decline in mobile game spend has already leveled out by mid-2023.”
The firm argues that reversing the trend of mobile game spending declines is a positive sign for the overall games industry. Unlike the growth super-charged by the pandemic, the current growth trajectory is more moderate.
Of course, there continue to be headwinds for the games market. Data.ai pointed to macroeconomic impacts on discretionary spending, crackdown on fingerprinting in advertising, the growth alternative app store distributions and regulations on gaming, especially in China, as potential hurdles.
Factors driving mobile game spending growth
The firm expects the U.S. to be the largest driver of spending growth, accounting for 40% of aggregate spending year-on-year.
“We’ve found that mobile game spend is closely related to disposable income, particularly in markets like the U.S.,” said Sydow. “As global economic conditions are slowly improving, we’ve seen mobile game consumer spend also trend upwards.”
Japan and South Korea are also key growth markets, driving a further 16% and 9% of aggregate spending year-on-year respectively. Data.ai also expects Taiwan, Germany and the U.K. to further contribute to spending growth.
As for genres, RPG, Match, Party and Casino will drive mobile game spending gains, albeit more evenly than markets. RPG and Match games will fuel $1 of every $5 of aggregate growth in spending each, accounting for 40% of growth.
Additionally, Data.ai predicts that TikTok will overtake Candy Crush Saga’s lifetime spending total by the end of 2024. The match-3 behemoth should cross the $14 billion lifetime spending mark shortly before TikTok, becoming the first app to do so. However, the social video app should overtake Candy Crush Saga’s spending totals before 2025.
Data.ai’s full report with more 2024 predictions on the broader mobile app market is available now.
GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.