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Apps VS Mobile Games: Who came out on top in H1 2023

Data.ai report reveals insights into consumer spending during the first half of the year
Apps VS Mobile Games: Who came out on top in H1 2023
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The first half of 2023 has given reason to be optimistic about consumer spending on mobile, to the relief of many after the 12 percent fall in consumer spending last year.

The decline disproportionately affected the top games’ performances, with many titles having made $10 million less or worse compared to 2021. In fact, 2022 was the first year since mobile gaming began wherein consumer spend growth fell.

The latest Data.ai report shows a change.

App battle

Combining in-app spending across apps and mobile games, the first half of 2023 has actually been incredibly positive – reaching its highest value on record: $67.5 billion. Furthermore, mobile games take the lion’s share of those earnings with $40.9 billion against general apps’ $26.6 billion.

Due to the booming success of mobile games throughout the pandemic, $40.9 billion does indeed still represent a fall compared to recent H1s, such as $44.5 billion in the same six months of 2021. However, confidence is certainly warranted, as the decline has slowed dramatically.

After a $3.3 billion drop between H1 2021 and H1 2022, this year’s H1 has only fallen a further $300 million, suggesting the industry is readying to rebound with a change in trajectory.

Comparatively, non-gaming apps have continued to grow year-on-year, but their form of ongoing success still only means they have managed to make around half as much money as mobile games. In H1 2021, apps made $21.4 billion to mobile games’ $44.5 billion, and in H1 2022 the former made $22.9 billion versus mobile gaming’s $41.2 billion, finally eking ahead of the halfway mark.

Data.ai head of insights Lexi Sydow expressed optimism around mobile games in a LinkedIn post, noting the even in times of a challenging UA market, with changes in Apple’s IDFA, and the broader cost of living increase, mobile gaming is "remaining steady YoY".

The full Data.ai report shows information on consumer spending dating back to 2019.

Additional Data.ai insights have revealed that the bulk of spending in app stores is on one-time purchases, not subscriptions. As for the consumers spending the most per device, they would be players in Japan and South Korea.