Gen Z is more likely to use gaming apps than other generations, but spends less time gaming than those 25+

Mobile data and analytics company App Annie has released a report on Gen Z’s mobile habits, titled How to Build a Winning Gen Z Strategy on Mobile.

The report looks at the generation’s mobile habits as a whole, but has some specific takeaways for mobile gaming.

First, while Gen Z is more likely to use gaming apps than other generations, they actually spend less time playing those games than those over 25. The 25+ age group spend nearly 20 per cent longer in their most used games, and access them 10 per cent more frequently.

Gen Z’s engagement in non-gaming app is deeper, however. They have 20 per cent more sessions per user in top non-gaming apps than older groups. Last year, Gen Z had 15% more sessions.

Gen Z’s entertainment habits are defined by the convergence of gaming, live streaming and social sharing, including apps such as Twitch and Discord. Twitch is particularly popular, and is the top over-indexing app among Gen Z in 6 out of 10 markets analyzed. Twitch has also recently expanded its reach outside of gaming, with cooking channels and interactive podcasts.

Discord has also seen significant growth, particularly in France. In-person gaming sessions with friends have been increasingly replaced by remote play and chatting via a mobile app. Of course, the pandemic is certain to have had an impact on this.

Inner Sloth’s Among Us was the third most played game worldwide, its success largely driven by Twitch streams – showing the importance of games with strong social mechanics to Gen Z.

Of the markets analysed, over 80 per cent of the top games skewed towards Gen Z users, highlighting the gaming space as essential viewing for potential partnerships.

In the UK, the top games by Gen Z index among top apps by MAU for Q3 2020 was Episode at number 1, followed by Subway Surfers, Among Us!, Minecraft Pocket Edition, Call of Duty: Mobile, ROBLOX, Pokémon Go, 8 Ball Pool, Coin Master and Candy Crush Saga.

Gen Z makes up a third of the world’s population, and controls an estimated spending power of $143 billion annually – and with 98 per cent of Gen Z owning a smartphone, businesses need to reach this generation via their mobile devices.

“Gen Z has never known a world without their smartphone. They see the world through this mobile first lens,” said Ted Krantz, CEO of App Annie. “As new consumers, businesses have an opportunity to earn their loyalty. App Annie connects brands to the mobile preferences of this generation.”

“Leveraging data to understand how to best reach consumers on mobile is more critical than ever, and Gen Z’s importance for marketers will only increase in 2021 and beyond. Businesses need to understand the values and user preferences of this audience to create truly engaging experiences on innovative platforms like Snapchat.” Skye Featherstone, product marketing manager at Snap, Inc.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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