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China and US accounted for more than 50% of the $107 billion spent on mobile games in 2023

data.ai’s latest report reveals all about regional revenue and download differences
China and US accounted for more than 50% of the $107 billion spent on mobile games in 2023
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Jan 10, 2024 report data.ai $107 billion
  • data.ai's State of Mobile 2024 reveals which regions spent and downloaded the most on mobile last year
  • Games continue to dominate other app forms, but the latter are rising fast

data.ai’s kicking off 2024 with plenty of insights into the mobile industry via its State of Mobile report, revealing new highs in time spent on apps, the increasing competition between apps and games, and just where $107.31 billion in 2023 mobile game revenues came from.

Time spent in apps has grown by 6% over 2022, in fact, to more than five hours per day on average in mobile-first markets. This is opening up new opportunities for brands to develop relationships with consumers, data.ai suggests, particularly in the top 10 markets.

Those spending the most time on their phones are in Indonesia, with more than six hours per day in apps. Thailand, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil followed with over five hours per day in 2023, but it’s Japan, Australia and Canada growing in time spent at the fastest rate.

Apps vs Games

Global consumer spend was up 3% in 2023, with South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey leading the charge at over 25% year-on-year growth rates. And while spending in mobile games remains far ahead at $107.3 billion, other app forms generated $64 billion last year and have increased more than 20 times since 2014’s $3 billion. Year-on-year, they’re growing by 11% thanks to streaming, dating, and user generated content.

This massive rise is partly attributed to "need-to-have" apps that provide a service, showing more resilience and growth through tumultuous economies than games are. Meanwhile, mobile games’ meteoric figure still represented a 2% fall in spending. data.ai asks, therefore: "Will consumers soon spend more in apps than games?"

Between apps and mobile games combined, 2023 revenue generation reached over $171 billion.

Playing by numbers

Worldwide mobile game consumer spend of $107.31 billion last year came predominantly from China and the US, with the former contributing $37.63 billion and the latter $23.92 billion; between the two they accounted for over half of global mobile game revenues in 2023.

The UK, meanwhile, spent $2.19 billion on mobile games, marking its second-highest total spending after 2021’s $2.39 billion. This silver-medal year occurred despite a decline in downloads every year since 2020’s 960 million, now down to 780 million. Considering 87.89 billion downloads took place worldwide in 2023, this means UK players accounted for only 0.89% of them.

Again, China and the US were among the biggest downloaders, with a giant 29.32 billion and 4.44 billion respectively. And Brazil actually beat the US in downloads with 4.55 billion, though only contributed $700 million in spending, suggesting there are far more free-to-play gamers in the region.

Japan was quite the inverse of Brazil with a minor 600 million downloads but massive $12.78 billion in spending, further emphasising Japanese players’ willingness to spend on mobile games. Like the UK, Japan’s downloads have declined every year since 2020, from 750 million to 600 million.

Lastly, despite being considered a major region for growth, in actuality India rose by only $20 million in player spending when comparing 2020 and 2023, from $210 million to $230 million. Even so, Google projects India’s valuation to grow 49% year-on-year until 2028.

In the full report, data.ai offers insight into the performances of ChatGPT, art generators and more.