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Mobile games using a subscription model almost triple in a year

Liftoff and Appsflyer report that mobile games represent almost 30% of subscription-based apps
Mobile games using a subscription model almost triple in a year
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Mobile games are growing significantly in their share of subscription models compared to other apps, almost tripling in one year from 11% of the total to 29%.

According to the latest data from Liftoff and AppsFlyer in the State of App Marketing for Subscription Apps report, the subscription-based landscape is still developing and mobile games are increasingly warming to the idea.

The report is based on data collected between January 2022 and April 2023, having collated information from 6,000 subscription apps each gaining a minimum of 3,000 new installs per month.

Are subscriptions the way to go?

A positive result in spite of the current economic climate, Liftoff and ApssFlyer report that consumer spending in subscription apps has risen by 35% on iOS and 22% on Android this year, with predictions that this trend will continue upward. This is an even greater boon when considering spend on user acquisition for subscription apps has declined by 30% and 41% respectively.

Interestingly, conversion rates to a subscription model are more than 50% higher among iOS users than Android, but both have accelerated thanks in large part to paywall optimisation.

"Despite the economic downturn, app marketers should feel assured by our latest findings – which show a rise in consumer spend and revenue growth per user, especially where subscriptions are concerned," said Liftoff senior content marketing manager Scott Reyburn.

Currently, mobile games still make up a minority share of the revenues generated by subscriptions, although this is likely a reflection of subscription services’ smaller representation in games; while 29% is a big increase on last year, it is still outmatched by the vast number of other apps using the model.

Furthermore, many other app types rely on subscriptions for their revenues, as seen heavily in health and fitness, entertainment, and utility categories. Mobile games, meanwhile, tend to generate high revenues from one-off purchases: data.ai found that mobile games generated $40.9 billion against other apps’ $26.6 billion in the first half of 2023.

Also noteworthy, Liftoff and AppsFlyer’s report has found that almost 50% of iOS users continue to consent to app tracking under the contentious ATT prompts, with users typically consenting if they are presented with a good reason and better experience for it.

"Marketers can gain confidence from the rise in consumer spend and should shift to a profitability mindset for the rest of 2023, including expecting continued growth, at least in the short term, as revenue per user is going up and the average price is as well," AppsFlyer director of content and market insights Shani Rosenfelder added.

The 2022 State of App Marketing for Subscription Apps report found that 11% of subscription-based apps were mobile games at that time. The full 2023 report includes further insight into types of user acquisition and more.