Millennials Game and Shop More on Mobile; According to Tapjoy’s Modern Mobile Gamer™ 2021: Millennials Report

Market research and analysis shows that 86% use smartphones for gaming and 73% shop on mobile 1-4 times a week

New market research from MobileVoice® by Tapjoy ( shows that Millennials use smartphones as a go-to device for entertainment and shopping. Mobile is overwhelmingly their platform of choice for gaming, according to 86% of those surveyed, and they’re far more likely to shop on mobile than desktop or brick-and-mortar stores. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only made Millennials more reliant on their mobile devices, with 64% reporting spending more time on mobile over the last year. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg according to the research found in Tapjoy’s latest report, Modern Mobile Gamer™ 2021: Millennial Edition.

For the latest installment in Tapjoy’s Modern Mobile Gamer™ series, following the Gen Z and Parent editions published earlier this year, Tapjoy surveyed 5,026 Millennial consumers in the United States. Here are a few insights that emerged from this comprehensive analysis:

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  • From 9/11 to the Great Recession and its ongoing aftermath, Millennials grew up and entered the workforce during a time of economic turmoil. This has affected their outlooks on nearly everything, from their careers to the way they interact with brands. The top values Millennials consider when interacting with brands is how they treat employees (55%), sustainability and environmental awareness (50%), and diversity, equity, and inclusion (46%).

  • They were already active mobile gamers — 86% use their smartphones for gaming, far more than those who play games on consoles/handhelds (37%), and PC (27%) — but the ongoing pandemic intensified these habits. Nearly three quarters played more mobile games as a result of the pandemic, and 59% downloaded new gaming apps. This isn’t a temporary fluctuation, either; 60% said they plan to continue playing more mobile games.

  • More than half shopped more on mobile over the last year and plan to continue, with entertainment, to-go food, apparel, and beauty/hygiene among their top shopping categories. They overwhelmingly prefer shopping on mobile to desktop and brick-and-mortar shops; 80% say they make mobile purchases often, and 73% shop on mobile one to four times a week.

  • They also plan to spend more on big events in 2021: 62% said they’ll spend more during the winter holidays, while 47% plan to spend more on Black Friday this year.

  • Rewarded ads are overwhelmingly their favorite type of mobile ad: 58% said they prefer rewarded ads over other types, compared to banner ads (12%) and social media ads (10%). In fact, 63% say they enjoy using offerwalls, and their number one reason for making purchases through mobile ads is to receive in-game rewards. They’re most likely to engage with surveys, though they also like videos and free trials.

“Millennials get a bad rap, but the truth is, there’s so much more to this demographic than avocado toast,” said Lauren Baca, Senior Director of Marketing at Tapjoy. “They have a unique perspective: They remember life before the internet but also can’t imagine life without it. They want to find others who share their values, whether that’s in a company they work for or one they follow on social media. And they’re just as tech-savvy and attached to their mobile devices as Gen Z, especially when it comes to gaming and shopping. Rewarded ads offer the best of both worlds — they connect Millennials with relevant offers and brands while empowering them to get more out of their mobile games. No wonder 55% say they engage with rewarded ads more than other ad types!”

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