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US social casino users still spending post-pandemic; Q2 2021 was a record $260 million

iOS social casino spending in US reached $1 billion during height of pandemic
US social casino users still spending post-pandemic; Q2 2021 was a record $260 million
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GameRefinery and Liftoff have released The Social Casino Gaming Apps Report 2021, which analysed the social casino app market between August 1st, 2020, and August 1st, 2021.

The data used is collected from over 83 billion ad impressions and 1.1 billion clicks across 12 million installations and 239 apps.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, iOS users in the US spent over $1 billion on social casino apps. The record figure was due to an increase in users following the closure of in-person casinos.

The reopening of casinos did not hinder the success of social casino apps, though with Q2 2021 reaching a new high of $260 million.

"As we examine the effects the pandemic has had on gaming, it’s no surprise casino apps are soaring in popularity around the globe," said GameRefinery head of game analytics Joel Julkunen.

"Since we are seeing more movement in this market, it’s vital for mobile marketers and developers in this vertical to use these insights to inform long-term strategies."

IDFA impact

The report found that social casino users are older than the user base of all other game genres, with more than half over the age of 45. Additionally, the users are an equal split of male and female users.

The presence of gameplay mechanics across the top 100 leading social casino apps showed a significant increase.

The report identified five distinguishable mechanics that were present throughout the top games:

  • album collectables (present in 74 per cent),
  • special side modes (71 per cent),
  • piggy bank mechanics (70 per cent),
  • guild mechanics (42 per cent), and a
  • battle pass (36 per cent).

The report also covers the effect of Apple’s recent IDFA policy changes on mobile casino games, indicating Android’s increasing appeal to marketers.

On iOS, cost-per-install (CPI) has increased 9.9 per cent year-on-year, up to $11.09, whereas the Android CPI has decreased 13.7 per cent. Overall, iOS install costs are 122 per cent higher than that of Android, compared to 74 per cent the year prior.

Additionally, despite the iOS return on ad spend (ROAS) taking an early lead, Android’s day 30 ROAS is slightly higher than iOS, at 1.9 per cent.

The full report can be read here.

In the wider mobile games space, consumer spending also increased by 35 per cent in Q3 2021, led by Roblox, Genshin Impact and Pokémon Go.