Coronavirus Leads to US Mobile Gaming Spike

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COVID-19 has led to an increase in canned food sales, Zoom’s stock price and Walmart shirts (not pants) as people adjust to social distancing and working from home. The latest spike due to the pandemic? Mobile gaming in the US. 

Mobile gaming and general mobile usage have experienced massive surges in daily users from consumers seeking stay-at-home entertainment to pass time, confirms data by digital advertiser, Jun Group.

With millions of Americans working from home and more than 70% of American schools shutting down in response to the pandemic, it’s no surprise that mobile data usage is on the rise. Comscore reported a 53% jump in US mobile usage during March 2020, while Verizon saw a 75% increase in Mobile gaming data usage over the same period. 

Read more: Gaming in the Time of Coronavirus

Subway Surfers during the commute to work has been replaced by a few rounds of Trivia Crack at breakfast before a Zoom call. 

Mobile game downloads have steadily increased over the past few years, rising 6% from 2018 to 2019. This past March, however, US mobile game downloads shot up by 25% across iOS and Android.

This uptick is not unique to the US, according to data from AppAnnie. In China, for example, time spent on mobile soared 30% during February 2020, increasing to around 5 hours a day as the first Chinese cities went into lockdown. Italy, too, noted a jump of 11% in daily time spent on mobile from users stuck inside with their phones.

Digital advertiser Jun Group polled their in-app audience to see if working from home correlated to an uptick in time spent playing mobile games. Of the thousands who answered yes to “are you currently working from home?” a whopping 77% said they play mobile games “several times a day.” 

Jun Group also reported a spike in in-app activity: the company’s in-app SDK monitored an unprecedented 138% increase in ad requests from March 5 to April 5, 2020. 

Read more: How To Make Money Out Of Your Mobile Apps?

As more people flood mobile games like Hotel Empire Tycoon and Words With Friends, engagement with in-app ads has gone up. IronSource reported a 6% increase in consumer engagement within rewarded Video ads (short ads that reward the user for watching by gifting in-game currency like extra lives). 

COVID-19’s impact on daily life and consumer behavior is as unprecedented as it is fast-moving. And whether your COVID-19 news source is Dr. Fauci, your company’s CEO, or your cousin’s neighbor’s ex who works in the Pentagon, it’s clear that life in the US won’t return to normalcy any time soon. 

Times are changing, but the smartest companies will change with them. Put simply, the more time consumers spend on mobile, the more they will engage with your ads. A pandemic may render your audience immobile, but consumers have proven they will still make purchases. It’s important for brands to be empathetic with their advertising by facilitating community and providing social support to their customers during these uncertain times. 

Read more: How Remote Working Will Help Retail Revaluate Its Agenda

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