Mobile Game Revenues to Grow 16.5% in 2015, Surpassing $3 Billion - eMarketer
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Mobile Game Revenues to Grow 16.5% in 2015, Surpassing $3 Billion

Gaming leads growth of $10 billion mobile content market as ebook and music downloads stagnate

February 18, 2015 | Mobile | Video | Media & Entertainment

US mobile game revenues—including both downloads and in-app purchases—will grow 16.5% this year to reach $3.04 billion, according to new figures from eMarketer. By virtue of this growth, mobile games will account for 30.9% of the US mobile content market in 2015, up from 29.3% in 2014.

US Mobile Game Revenues, 2013-2016 (billions, % change and % of total mobile download and in-app revenues*)

In-app purchases are driving increases in US mobile game revenues, due in part to growing popularity of freemium models among app developers. This year, in-app revenues for mobile games will total $1.82 billion, or 59.8% of all mobile game revenues, increasing to nearly $2 billion next year, when share of the mobile game market will be 60.1%.

US Mobile Game Revenues, by Venue, 2013-2016

Overall, mobile content revenues in the US—which include purchases of mobile goods such as ebooks, games, videos and music, but exclude ad-supported revenues and subscriptions—will total $9.82 billion in 2015, a 10.3% increase from 2014. Next year, mobile content revenues will increase another 6.3%, reaching $10.44 billion and accounting for 10.6% of all retail revenues on smartphones and tablets in the US.

Mobile content purchases on the whole are beginning to slow, which tracks user growth and consumer habits. Smartphone and tablet ownership in the US is not yet at saturation, but the days of exponential growth are certainly behind us.

US Mobile Download and In-App Revenues, 2013-2016 (billions)

“Since mobile content is native to the devices, it’s often new mobile users’ first introduction to mcommerce,” said Martin Utreras, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “As the US mobile user base matures, mobile content revenues are taking a smaller share of the overall mcommerce market as consumers become more comfortable buying physical retail items and making more expensive purchases from their devices.”

Ebook sales will reach $4.25 billion in 2015, accounting for 43.3% of US mobile download and in-app revenues in 2015. While ebooks will maintain the largest share of mobile content revenues throughout our forecast, growth is flattening. Music downloads are also losing share of the mobile content market, since music revenues have been particularly affected by the rise in subscription and streaming services. Video download revenues are still growing, expected to increase 13.8% this year, but may also see an impact from subscription and streaming services over time.

US Mobile Download and In-App Revenue Share, 2013-2016 (% of total and billions)

eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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