2021’s Mobile Market: Almost Four Billion Smartphone Users, $90.7 Billion in Game Revenues & Huge Changes to Come

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The cell ecosystem is altering. Cellular builders discovered a lot of their success through data-driven insights from intelligent consumer monitoring and concentrating on. Nonetheless, stringent (privacy-based) insurance policies from Apple, Google, and regulators have created new challenges for builders, publishers, advert tech firms, and entrepreneurs.


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Regardless of these challenges, the cell market—and the video games market inside it—is extra intensive, profitable, and various than ever earlier than. The entire variety of smartphone customers will attain 3.9 billion worldwide in 2021, representing modest year-on-year progress of +6.1%.

In the meantime, world cell recreation revenues through shopper spending will hit $90.7 billion, a year-on-year progress of +4.4%. Whereas progress will proceed, cell firms have been compelled to shift their methods amid the altering market (as a result of tightening privateness measures throughout the board).

Throughout this crossroads of the cell ecosystem, we and our associate Appopia are proud to publicly launch our 2021 World Cellular Market Report. A key throughline of this yr’s report is contextualizing and analyzing the affect of the market’s disruptive adjustments.

This text will current some high-level findings from the report, together with:

  • An summary of the worldwide cell market by smartphone customers and cell recreation revenues (through shopper spending, excluding advert revenues).
  • A take a look at a few of our income and consumer forecasts in the direction of 2024.
  • A concise evaluation of the privateness and app retailer adjustments rocking the market (and what they imply for cell’s future).

Able to dive deeper? Obtain the free model of the report, that includes data-packed rankings and a peek at key traits, proper right here.

Smartphone Consumer Numbers Are on the Rise Throughout the Globe

The variety of smartphone customers worldwide is quick approaching the four-billion mark. As you possibly can see beneath, the Asia-Pacific area accounts for over half of 2021’s smartphone customers, primarily because of extremely populated international locations like China and India:


As a consequence of progress areas like Central Southern Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, the variety of smartphone customers worldwide will attain 4.5 billion by the tip of 2024, a +6.1% CAGR (2019-2024). As at all times, this progress of customers—and the cell avid gamers amongst them—will trickle into recreation revenues.

Which App Retailer Accounts for the Most Cellular Recreation Revenues?

Some of the important adjustments on this yr’s World Cellular Market Report is our revamped app-store-revenue mannequin, which breaks down cell recreation revenues per app retailer. Of 2021’s $90.7 billion world cell recreation revenues:

  • $41.1billion will come from the iOS platform (45.3% of the worldwide quantity).
  • $28.2billion from Google Play (31.1%).
  • $21.3billion from third-party Android app shops (23.5%)—primarily through China, the place Google Play is banned.

As you possibly can see within the picture beneath, the world cell video games market will generate $116.4 billion in 2024, representing important progress from 2019:


Sooner or later, we anticipate Google Play and third-party-store recreation revenues to outgrow these on iOS. In spite of everything, Android’s recognition is continuous to flourish throughout the globe. And customers in Android-first progress markets are having fun with extra disposable revenue, which some will spend on cell video games on their Android units.


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We consider that Apple’s and Google’s privateness adjustments could have a restricted affect on shopper spending throughout app shops. We’ll hold monitoring the impacts and replace the forecasts when mandatory—as we at all times do.

Apple vs. Epic and Its Potential Influence on Cellular (Recreation) Funds

Final yr, Epic selected to leverage its sturdy place within the video games market to strain Apple and Google (particularly the previous) into loosening app retailer restrictions. Epic sued each firms for monopolistic habits.

The U.S. court docket unveiled the outcomes for the Apple vs. Epic lawsuit earlier this month. The choose in the end dominated in Apple’s favor on nine-out-of-ten counts, penalizing Apple (through an injunction) for its anti-steering App Retailer insurance policies for in-app purchases.

These anti-steering insurance policies, which Google additionally just lately applied, prohibit app sellers from promoting alternate fee programs exterior the platform holder’s ecosystem. However what does this imply for the cell (video games) market?

The probably state of affairs is that builders will likely be allowed to cost much less in exterior fee choices for in-app purchases in the US if Apple doesn’t attraction the injunction:

  • Builders wouldn’t must pay Apple’s 30% minimize on this state of affairs, giving the builders a fuller share of revenues (if they’ve exterior fee choices in place).
  • As builders would bypass the App Retailer, they could attempt to go on financial savings to shoppers, incentivizing them to make use of third-party funds (quite than Apple’s).
  • Apple may subsequently lose a major quantity of its App Retailer revenues if exterior funds choices don’t trigger an excessive amount of friction for shoppers.
  • Nonetheless, it’s expensive for firms to construct, preserve, and assist a fee system that’s secure and steady. Presently, solely massive builders can afford to construct such programs in-house—or purchase the required tech through mergers and acquisitions.
  • Funds firms resembling Stripe and PayPal, which may present fee programs for small and mid-sized builders, may gain advantage right here.

Whilst you can be taught the potential ripple impact of the choose’s ruling within the full report, we consider that Apple will likely be compelled to open its cell fee ecosystem throughout the globe, quite than juggling numerous insurance policies throughout totally different markets.

To offset the potential income loss, Apple will proceed diversifying its enterprise, particularly in the direction of its promoting community. On that word, the cell promoting ecosystem can also be dealing with important disruptions, and Apple is once more on the heart.

Privateness Adjustments Are Additionally Poised to Change the Cellular Market, However What Do They Imply for Gaming?

This yr, Apple’s App Monitoring Transparency (ATT), which requires customers to decide in to be tracked, has been one other main disruption to the cell market.

ATT is a part of iOS’s 14.5 replace, which is important as our Cellular Gadget Information reveals that 85% of iOS customers up to date to iOS 14.5. And most customers are not opting in to be tracked. In accordance with Fyber, opt-in charges for ATT had been simply 17% globally as of mid-September.

To retain a number of the monitoring skill they’d, cell firms are turning into content material fortresses, and corporations—together with Apple itself—are doubling down on inside advert networks. Get a glimpse of those traits in this free report.

Cellular recreation builders had been already adopting hybrid monetization and IP-based-game methods, and cell privateness adjustments are solely accelerating these shifts. Understanding the affect of those adjustments—and the way shoppers would possibly react to them—means exploring cell avid gamers’ motivations, attitudes round in-game adverts, and IP preferences.

To assist make clear the state of affairs, we went straight to supply to highlight shopper sentiment throughout these matters, surveying 5,400 cell avid gamers throughout China, the U.S., Germany, and Japan. Get a sneak peek at a number of the leads to the free model of our World Cellular Market Report.

In the long run, these challenges imply cell builders and publishers should proceed to adapt to offset potential income loss. Fortunately, the market boasts a number of the savviest and most modern minds in gaming, tech, and certainly the world.

Cellular firms are already rising to the problem of the brand new age of cell, and we’re assured that their successes will proceed into 2022 and past. We hope you’ll be part of us for the journey as we navigate the shifting waters of the cell market collectively.

The information and insights in our full World Cellular Market Report are already serving to a number of the world’s largest and most profitable manufacturers:

  • Prioritizetheir world cell
  • Optimizetheir recreation’s
  • Develop real looking enterprise
  • Andincrease their advertising ROI.


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