The surge in mobile gaming will likely stick around beyond COVID-19

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
April 29, 2021, 10:37 PM GMT+0

When many parts of the world shut down to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19), mobile games became one of the most accessible forms of fun and distraction for those stuck at home. The appeals of mobile gaming in particular are clear, especially during a pandemic: nearly everyone carries a smartphone these days and many mobile games are free-to-play, with the option to customize the experience with in-app purchases.

This formula deepened engagement with mobile gaming in the US and Great Britain, with many mobile gamers saying they played more over the last year. This doesn’t seem to be a temporary trend either and even a year after the onset of the pandemic, many mobile gamers indicate they plan to continue playing, according to new YouGov research.

We polled 1,200 adults each in the US and Great Britain on the subject. Mobile gaming proves to be wildly popular in both countries, with roughly three-quarters of Americans (73%) and two-thirds of Brits (67%) indicating they play games on either an iOS or Android device (i.e., they are mobile gamers). In both countries, women are significantly more likely than men to say they play mobile games (81% vs 66% in the US; 72% vs. 61% in Great Britain).

The data shows the pandemic only increased existing gamers’ engagement with mobile games. Nearly two in five mobile gamers in the US (39%) and Great Britain (36%) say they play mobile games more than they did before the onset of COVID-19. Specifically in Great Britain, female mobile gamers are significantly more likely to lead this surge in gaming (42% vs. 29% of male mobile gamers).

And it’s not just that existing gamers say they’re playing more than they did pre-pandemic. Majorities of mobile gamers in the US (77%) and Great Britian (68%) report they will likely sustain playing at this increased rate beyond COVID-19. As people begin returning to work, school and their normal schedules, it’s important for publishers and brands to understand if mobile gaming will maintain its share of entertainment time. It appears, so far, that the mobile gaming industry shouldn't expect a drop-off, even in a post-pandemic world.

Receive monthly topical insights about the gaming and esports industry, straight to your inbox. Sign up today.

Discover more gaming and esports content here

Start building a survey now with YouGov Direct

Methodology: YouGov polled 1,200 adults aged 18 and over in the US and 1,200 adults in Great Britain on April 28, 2021. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. US data is weighted by age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity. Results are nationally representative of adults in the US and the margin of error is 4.4% for the overall US sample. Data from Great Britian is weighted according to age, gender, education, region and social grade. Results are nationally representative of adults in the Great Britain and the margin of error is 4.9% for the overall GB sample. Learn more about YouGov Direct.

Explore more data & articles