Gen Z install the most games and make the most frequent in-app purchases

Anne Freer | June 19, 2023

App Business

Gen Z’s interest in gaming apps is undeniable. According to new research from marketing firm Fluent, almost half of the generation’s users have at least four gaming apps installed on their phones. Let’s dive in.

Even non-gamers install gaming apps

Gen Z is the generation with the highest interest in mobile gaming with 48% of them having installed four mobile games and 26% having installed seven or more.

Millennials rank second with 45% having at least four games and 23% having at least seven or more games installed on their phones.

Interestingly, gamers who exhibit a distinct inclination towards role-playing (RPG) and strategy titles are notably more inclined to have more than four gaming apps on their smartphones – 58% fall into this category.

Following closely behind are enthusiasts of casino games, with 52% of them having a multitude of gaming apps on their devices. Additionally, puzzle and mind game aficionados make up 49% of gamers.

Surprisingly, even among those who claim not to be avid gamers, the report unravels an intriguing fact: 50% confess to having at least one game installed on their phones. This finding underscores the notion that non-gamers may still carry gaming titles on their devices, such as parents who download games for their children’s amusement.

Gaming app installs by generation

Source: Fluent

Who’s likely to download more games?

While 59% of respondents have no plans to change the number of gaming apps on their phones in the coming year, 19% intend to download additional games.

Interestingly, 23% of Gen Z and 24% of Millennials expressed their likelihood of downloading more games. However, among Gen Z, 26% of participants revealed their intention to reduce the number of games on their phones, making them the most inclined to do so.

The study highlighted that RPG enthusiasts are the most likely to download more games in the next year, accounting for 25% of respondents. However, similar to Gen Z, RPG fans also represent the group with the highest likelihood of decreasing their gaming app collection, with 26% planning to do so.

The survey noted a positive correlation between the number of games currently installed on one’s phone and the likelihood of downloading more games in the upcoming twelve months.

Individuals with seven games on their phones were found to be 33% more likely to download additional games, with 24% expressing their intent to do so, compared to 18% among those with fewer games.

Conversely, individuals who have not yet embraced gaming, primarily consisting of baby boomers and the silent generation, were found to be the least inclined to download more games.

Do users have ad preferences?

When examining user preferences for in-game and external app ads, 48% reported having no strong preference. However, younger generations exhibited a higher likelihood of favouring one ad format over the other, with 31% expressing a preference in either direction. Surprisingly, the silent generation stood out, as they were 45% more likely to prefer ads outside of apps.

The study also identified three primary factors that significantly influence new game downloads. Among respondents, 32% stated that they were more inclined to download a game if it offered opportunities to earn rewards.

Users prefer rewarded video ads in-game

Source: eMarketer

In comparison, 20% were receptive to ads on social media, and 16% were swayed by gameplay videos.

Notably, 38% admitted to downloading a game that provided monetary rewards. Millennials (44%) and Gen X (41%) emerged as the most likely demographics to engage in such downloads. When considering genre preferences, casino and gambling players exhibited the highest likelihood of downloading games offering monetary incentives.

Let’s not forget in-app purchases

In-app purchases have become a prevalent trend among mobile gamers, as revealed by the survey results. 55% of respondents make in-app purchases at least once a year, with 45% doing so monthly and 12% on a daily basis.

Generation Z and Millennials are the most frequent in-app purchasers, with 62% and 61% respectively.

Additionally, when considering gaming preferences, RPG and strategy players exhibited the highest inclination, with a striking 73% of them indulging in such purchases. Notably, 42% of RPG and strategy players made in-app purchases on a weekly basis.

Interestingly, gamers continue to spend despite price rises on in-app purchases from 2021 to 2022.

Price of in-app purchases on the rise

Source: Apptopia

Millennials stood out as the demographic most likely to spend money on gambling, with 30% of respondents from this group indulging in such purchases. On the other hand, Gen Z users were more inclined towards spending money on cosmetic items or gameplay customisation, with 18% of them engaging in such transactions.

Key takeaways

  • 48% of Gen Z have at least 4 gaming apps installed, and 26% have 7 or more.
  • 59% plan to keep the same number of gaming apps, while 19% intend to download more.
  • 48% of gamers have no strong preference for in-game or external app ads

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