AppsFlyer reports a 45% growth in mobile gaming app installs in 2020

Mobile gaming reaches new heights and will continue to accelerate

Mobile gaming is now at its peak popularity and it isn’t dropping down the heat anytime soon. This is a confirmation as according to the latest report from AppsFlyer in their The State of Gaming App Marketing – November 2020 Edition. This is a report examining the growth of the mobile gaming industry during the first three quarters of 2020. AppsFlyer reports show that the demand for mobile gaming has shown growth by an astonishing 45% worldwide in 2020, compared to the previous year. Also, the report shows an overall accelerated growth rate, which is 40% higher between 2020 and 2019 than between 2018 and 2019.

AppsFlyer 2020 report insights and key findings

The following points are the significant insights from the AppFlyer report:

Global Increase in in-app purchase revenue

There was a 25% increase in in-app purchase revenue during COVID-19 lockdowns around the world. The rise was driven largely by Casual games bossing it, as the category got a major jump of 55% installs throughout and maintained high levels of revenue through August. In-App Purchase Revenue climbed 67% between February to August.

appsflyer mobile gaming growth reports 2020

In yet another indication of just how different 2020 was, its numbers vary drastically from 2019. Last year, most revenue was generated during Q1, and then dropped sharply in Q2 and remained mostly the same in Q3.

In contrast, In-App Advertising decreased by 16% in the same timeframe. As mobile advertising faces challenges, marketers can look more toward purchases. It is because of clear evidence that consumers are becoming less tolerant of in-app advertising, which they obviously don’t like and seem to willingly spend more on in-app items.

Area-wise reports

fastest growing markets
Fastest growing markets

The above image shows you the top 10 countries with the fastest growing gaming markets. India, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil are having a growth rate of over 100%.

Regional performance is shown below:

REGIONAL PERFORMANCECost Per InstallIncrease in In-app purchase revenueRevenue generated by adsGrowth in Paying users


  • EMEA- Europe, Middle East, and Africa
  • APAC- Asia-Pacific
  • LATAM- Latin America

Robust growth in Non-Organic Installs

Non-organic install growth increased from 66% to 69% in 2020. This was a slight increase, but still seemed to show a decent growth overall.

AppFlyer cites two main reasons behind the vigorous growth in Non-Organic Installs. First, organic discovery for the average app continues to be extremely challenging and only getting harder each year. Overall, there was a strong organic demand, but this demand usually does not trickle down beyond apps in the top charts. As a result, games turn to marketing to drive growth.

Hyper Casual games bossed the installs department

Hyper Casual games saw an increase of 250% for non-organic installs. The growth is attributed to marketers understanding that many new players were trying mobile gaming for the first time during the pandemic. Easier mobile games saw higher total install growth rates. Hyper casual and casual games showed at least double the rate of growth compared to the more niche hardcore and social casino games.

appsflyer mobile gaming growth reports 2020

As the report suggests, many beginner players prefer to start with the easiest games, like in the Hyper Casual department and only a small percentage of them become hardcore gamers.

What the big names from AppsFlyer had to say

Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Content & Mobile Insights, AppsFlyer, also reacted to the positive reports: “It is not a surprise that we saw a massive increase in new players trying games for the first time. In particular, Hyper Casual installs surged 90%, including a staggering 250% in the number of marketing-driven non-organic installs”. He also added: “What’s significant is that gaming apps realized the opportunity to accelerate their user acquisition efforts and took full advantage of this trend while in the moment. The brands that made the reactive, nimble moves to meet heightened demand dominated the stay at home peaks in gaming app engagement.”

Adam Smart, Director of Product, Gaming, AppsFlyer also had a few words to share: “While there was an 18% increase in revenue generated from in-app purchases on iOS devices during lockdowns in Europe, it’s clear that there are still areas for major growth. Install growth and the return of big brands beyond gaming created a surge in media costs, so to maintain the increase in revenue generated from in-app purchases, we recommend remarketing as a strategy to drive continued success.”

What do you think about the AppsFlyer mobile gaming growth reports of 2020? Do you think this year has been a boon for mobile gaming? Let us know in the comment section below!

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