Mobile gaming is a large and fast-growing industry – the global market for mobile games is expected to surpass $100 billion next year. Games like Candy Crush, Honor of Kings, and PUBG Mobile are some of the highest-grossing mobile games on the market. But just how many Americans are turning to their phones for gaming and what are their motivations for doing so? 

According to new CivicScience survey data, 65% of U.S. adults report they’re playing mobile games, including 45% who say they play mobile games at least once a week. There is a strong correlation with stress levels. Sixty-five percent of respondents who report feeling very stressed recently say they play mobile games at least once per week – 20 points higher than the Gen Pop.

Join the Conversation: How much time would you say you spend playing mobile games on your smartphone on an average day?

Escaping stress is one key driver of mobile gaming, but the most common motivation for playing mobile games —especially among respondents 45 and older — is to prevent or alleviate boredom. Younger adults also tend to cite other reasons for playing, including competition, socializing, and engaging in creativity or role-playing. CivicScience has also found gaming, including via mobile, is a popular means of escaping social media.

Many Americans go beyond mere engagement with their mobile games, choosing to invest financially in their gaming pursuits – 44% of mobile gamers report they spend money on mobile gaming each year. Among those who make purchases for mobile gaming, half typically allocate between $1 and $50 per year, while 15% report spending $250 or more.

Although only 17% of mobile gamers aged 55 and above acknowledge spending money on these games, those who do spend tend to be significant contributors financially. In fact, Boomers are nearly twice as likely as their younger counterparts to report annual spending of $500 or more.

Weigh In: How comfortable are you with paying for in-game transactions to progress faster in a mobile game?

Additional Insights on Mobile Game Spenders from the InsightStore™:

  • People who play mobile games and spend money on them are more than three times as likely to say they plan on switching mobile carriers in the next six months (34% to 11% of players who are non-spenders).
  • Players who spend on mobile games are 31 points more likely to click through digital ads that are relevant to their interests compared to those who play and don’t spend money on them (82% to 51%). 
  • Mobile game spenders are more than twice as likely as non-spending players to plan on spending $100+ on sports-related entertainment or products (such as game tickets or merchandise).

The mobile gaming industry stands to continue its momentum as Americans seek to mitigate feelings of stress, alleviate boredom, and escape social media. These consumers make up a formidable share of the population and aren’t afraid to spend to play. Retailers would be wise to consider this market to target.

Want to stay in tune with the latest consumer trends and see how to reach consumers like mobile gamers? CivicScience’s database of over 500K crossable polling questions allows clients to explore consumer insights and discover trends before they happen. See it in action.